Pueblo COVID vaccines: Friendly faces in new clinics could boost community confidence
Pueblo County health organizations are working to build confidence to improve immunization rates.
Randi Addington works with Health Colorado, Inc., which helps people in 19 counties in southeast Colorado access health services, including appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, 49.3% of Pueblo’s population have at least one dose of a vaccine, which is below the state target of 70%.
Addington said the slowing vaccination rates in Pueblo County have less to do with accessibility or reluctance, than with life situations that can make it difficult to get the vaccine, including discharge. and transportation. In Colorado, employers are required to give time for vaccinations.
To get around some of these challenges, she worked with community partners to set up clinics where people are.
“What we really saw people do is go for the vaccine when it was available around the corner, when it was within walking distance, and especially when it was offered by someone they knew. and whom they trusted, âAddington said. “This is what we saw in terms of making, for lack of a better word, accessible, but really practical for people.”
“ We need to listen to people and know their fears ”
Addington said she has partnered with the Center for Health Progress and the Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association (SoCoHRA) to host these sites across the county. SoCoHRA became an approved COVID-19 vaccine distribution site in February and has held non-profit clinics at a local non-profit office in recent months, vaccinating hundreds of people at a time.
Judy Solano of SoCoHRA said when the state called for vaccine equity sites, she was ready.
âI just needed to get involved and bring the vaccines to a lot of our underserved populations who don’t have access to them,â Solano said.
For Addington and Solano, these community clinics gave providers the opportunity to address people’s concerns. Addington said people in the health care sector are adopting a “neighborhood health model” not just for COVID-19, but for health issues in the future.
âIt’s not just always about science, it won’t always be about public health opinion, but also about those trusts in the community,â Addington said.
âWe ran 100 miles an hour trying to get everyone vaccinated,â Solano said. âWe need to listen to people and know their fears. Pueblo is a very practical community, we know each other and in many ways it is a small town but yet we are a bigger town. So we still need partnerships and community leaders who can connect with larger populations and can say we’re here to answer your questions. “