Welcome to 2021

Phones are ringing off the hook at the Telluride Regional Medical Center — here’s the latest news:

  • Telluride Regional Medical Center and San Miguel County Public Health has moved on from healthcare workers (Phase 1A), to Phase 1B, specifically full-time inhabitants age 70 and older.

  • Throughout January, Med Center staff will reach out to over 400 individuals who meet that criteria to schedule vaccinations.

  • Please do not call the medical center to inquire about where you are on the list.

  • Patients will be contacted to schedule a vaccine starting first with those with the eldest ages and highest risk factors — scheduling partners to receive vaccinations on the same day is also a goal.

  • If you live full-time in San Miguel County and have not been a patient of the Telluride Regional Medical Center in the last two years, you will need to contact San Miguel Public Health to register for the vaccination.

  • San Miguel County Public Health will offer weekly vaccination clinics in the Norwood region and is partnering with Uncompahgre Medical Center to obtain data and to schedule vaccinations for patients of the Norwood medical clinic.

  • Staff at the Telluride Med Center understand this is a stressful time, please continue to be patient.

“Each week we will schedule as many vaccinations as we have on hand”
– Dr. Christine Mahoney, director of primary care.

On the last day of 2020, the Telluride Med Center vaccine team began implementing a change in Colorado’s Phase 1A and 1B which allows for full-time inhabitants of San Miguel County, who are over age 70, to be vaccinated.

Over thirty residents meeting the criteria were vaccinated yesterday at the Telluride Regional Medical Center’s Interim Depot Clinic, according to Dr. Sharon Grundy. 

“We are now two weeks into delivering vaccinations, and in collaboration with San Miguel County Public Health, have put 380 vaccines into people’s arms.”

Moving forward, Dr. Grundy expects to hear from Colorado Public Health each Friday the number of vaccines to expect in the subsequent shipment. Vaccines are delivered to the clinic on Tuesdays. 

If all goes according to plan, qualifying patients will receive a phone call on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout January to schedule vaccinations for the rest of the week.

“We anticipate to vaccinate around 100 people age 70 and older next week,” said Dr. Grundy.

Dr. Mahoney, expects protocols to become more streamlined in time but is counting on the regularity of information from the state and deliveries.

“Each week we will schedule as many vaccinations as we have on hand,” she said.

“As healthcare providers this rollout is mission critical. Protecting our community from this deadly virus speaks to the heart of who we are and the culture here at our clinic,” said Dr. Grundy.

“Every time we vaccinate someone we know that’s one less person who won’t get sick from COVID-19, end up in the hospital, or die of this disease.”

Dr. Mahoney agrees. “Getting vaccines out to the community is what is driving our morale.”

State and local protocols regarding who is and who is not eligible for this present round of vaccinations must be strictly adhered to.

Here’s who is eligible during this phase of vaccination distribution:

  • Full-time inhabitants of San Miguel County who are 70 + years old. (This includes those who have recently established themselves as long-term residents.)

  • Recipients must commit to be available for the second vaccination dose 28 days after initial dose. 

  • Recipients cannot be in quarantine or have a pending COVID-19 test related to ongoing Contact Tracing efforts. 

  • Recipients should be COVID-19 free for a minimum of 90 days.

  • Recipients cannot have had another vaccination administered in the prior 14 days (flu, shingles, etc.)

  • Eligible recipients who have had prior anaphylaxis should talk to their provider about pre-medication prior to the immunization. 

An important message for part-time residents of San Miguel County — even those who consider the local med center their medical home: You must arrange for your vaccine with the Public Health Department in your home county. 

Likewise, patients who receive care at the Telluride Medical Center, but live outside the county, need to contact their home county public heath department for information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.

“If there is a change in this directive we will be notify our patients who live in other counties. However, for now please do reach out to your county’s public health,” said Dr. Grundy.

It is a Colorado state-wide mandate to first vaccinate full-time inhabitants in each county. Dr. Grundy notes this could change in the Spring as vaccine supply’s increases.

Colorado Department of Health data notes San Miguel County is the full-time home for 6,502 people age 18 and older. At present, two weeks into vaccine distribution, six percent of that population has been vaccinated.

Protocols, vaccination sites and quantities of vaccines may change each week.

Coloradans age 70 and older account for 80 percent of all COVID-19 deaths the state. “The current vaccination distribution plan is wholly dedicated to getting these vaccines to this most vulnerable population,” said Dr. Grundy.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses. Established immunity is not established until 7 days after the second dose, which is given 28 days after the initial injection.

All recipients of the vaccine must continue to practice The Five Commitments, of staying home when sick, wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding groups and washing hands frequently.

“We are working very diligently to vaccinate as quickly as possible. We all must continue to our good practices from the past nine months,” said Dr. Grundy.

Even as the vaccine rolls out, it is imperative that residents and visitors follow Level Red protocol and diligently adhere to the Five Commitments of Containment:

8 things to know about the covid-19 vaccine

We ask that you please do not call the Telluride Regional Medical Center with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

We are not keeping a waiting list for the vaccine. We will continue to release information as we have it and will find ways to ensure the vaccine is distributed equitably throughout every phase of distribution. 

We understand this is a stressful time, please continue to be patient and kind, and remember, we are all in this together.