Vaccine distribution in Bent and Crowley counties slow, Otero County middle of the pack
Despite millions of COVID-19 vaccines rolling out across the United States, the grip of the pandemic can still be felt in the Arkansas Valley.
After the retirement of Colorado’s COVID Dial used to determine restrictions in each county, Otero and Crowley County opted to stick with the state’s metrics, according to Otero County Health Department Executive Director Rick Ritter.
Currently, the two counties are in Level Blue, which is the second lowest level on the dial when it comes to restrictions. Still, that is a step up from where the counties were at the end of March which was the lowest mark in Level Green.
Level Blue constitutes having a 7-day incident rate of 36-100 cases per 100,000 people and no more than 5% of tests coming back positive.
Otero currently has a 92.99 incident rate as of April 29 and Crowley is at 49.7, both marking a decrease from the start of the week.
However, Bent County currently has the highest 7-day incident rate in the state with 431.2 over the week, forcing Santa Fe Trail Day events and activities to go virtual for the second consecutive year and forcing the Las Animas High School football team to sit out the postseason.
When it comes to vaccine distribution, Crowley and Bent are the two lowest counties in Colorado when it comes to percentage of the counties’ population receiving one dose and the counties’ population that is fully vaccinated.
According to data from the CDC, Bent County has the lowest total population fully vaccinated in Colorado with only 5.7% of people, 317 people total.
Crowley County is the next lowest in Colorado with only 6.6% of the population fully vaccinated, 397 people total.
When it comes to at least one dose in the two counties, Crowley is last in the state with only 17% of the population with at least one dose and Bent is the next with only 18.1% of the county’s population.
As far as Otero County on vaccine number, it is more in the middle of the pack for Colorado with 14.8% of the population fully vaccinated, 2,710 people total, and 41.5% of the population having received at least one dose.
While Ritter is pleased with the early turnout for Otero, he does recognize interest has been slowing down.
“Overall, I am very pleased,” Ritter said. “The Otero County Health Department (OCHD) and our many partners have worked very closely together to get vaccine into arms as soon as possible.
“The response has been very good up to this point, but the number of people wanting an initial vaccination is definitely slowing down.”
Ritter said anyone in the area interested in receiving the vaccine can call their local pharmacy or medical provider to ask about availability.
The state offers a tracking system to find where vaccines are available. According to the site, two places in Las Animas are currently offering the vaccine in Bent County Public Health and Val-U-Med Pharmacy.
Crowley County has two locations, one at Valley Wide Health Systems in Ordway and at Ordway Health Mart pharmacy. The next closest location is in Otero County at Harris Pharmacy in Rocky Ford.
Valley Wide Health Systems in La Junta also offers the vaccine, as well as the Walmart on 6 Conley Road in La Junta.
The state also has buses rolling out to rural communities with vaccines, and one of them will be stopping at the Bent County Fairgrounds at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 30. The bus will be giving out the Pfizer vaccine to anyone above the age of 16 and will make a return trip to give out the second dose later in May.
Chieftain News Content Coach Austin White can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at twitter.com/ajw_sports. Help support the Chieftain and get the latest news with a digital subscription.