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Voice of the consumer: More El Paso County residents need to get vaccinated, governor says

Jenna Middaugh
Jenna Middaugh(KKTV)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 7:08 AM MDT
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Our 11 News Call For Action team pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Gov. Jared Polis says more people in El Paso County need to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

According to state data, roughly 40% of El Paso County’s eligible population has gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Compare that to more than 60% of Denver County’s eligible population, a county with a very similar population size to El Paso. Local health leaders say COVID cases are rising in our county.

“El Paso County continues to see a consistent increase in COVID-19 cases and incidence, with recent data suggesting that the county is in the early stages of a new wave,” El Paso County Public Health stated in a news release.

Gov. Polis also spoke about this topic during one of his recent COVID updates.

“Areas of our state with more vaccination have less COVID. Areas with less vaccination have more COVID,” Polis said. “We hope that this cold, hard data helps convince people that might be on the sidelines to get vaccinated.”

According to Centura Health, which manages the state-run Broadmoor World Arena mass vaccination site, only 3,427 doses were administered there between April 19 and 26, but there were 14,700 doses available.

Gov. Polis said there could be multiple reasons Coloradans are not getting vaccinated. He said some people might be worried about missing work. Under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act the governor signed last year, all regular full-time and part-time employees in the state are eligible to receive paid time off for health and safety needs.

“You have the right to take four hours of paid time or sick leave for a vaccine appointment, even when scheduled during work hours, or use paid time off while recovering from a COVID vaccine,” Gov. Polis said. “Employers are required to honor that right.”

If your employer is making it hard for you to take time off to get vaccinated, you can call the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Division of Labor Standards and Statistics at 303-318-8441 to ask questions or voice a complaint.

If you still need to get your COVID-19 vaccine, the Broadmoor World Arena’s drive-thru clinic is open Friday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To sign up for an appointment, call 720-263-5737 or visit www.centura.org/vaccine. This site is also taking walk-ups.

There’s also a new drive-thru vaccine site open at Chapel Hills Mall. This clinic is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointments are required. Register at www.comassvax.org.

Remember, the state health department has a vaccine hotline that’s open 24/7. Call 1-877-268-2926 for more information. You can also call 2-1-1 or text “vaccine” to 667873 to get contact information for your preferred health care provider to sign up for a vaccine.

There’s also a website a Colorado man created that compiles open appointments at pharmacies across the country. Visit www.vaccinespotter.org/CO/ to find open appointments in Colorado.

El Paso County Public Health also has a map showing all the different locations administering vaccines in the county. You can find the map at www.elpasocountyhealth.org/how-will-i-get-the-vaccine.

Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.

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