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'Get The Second Dose': Weld County Health Clinic Getting Proactive In Vaccine Distribution

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Soon, vaccine supply could surpass demand, leading to new challenges in the race toward herd immunity. At Sunrise Community Health in Weld County, staff members are working with people who are hesitant or not in a rush to get their vaccine, as well as making sure patients get their second shot.

Over the past few weeks, the phones have been ringing less often, said CEO Mitzi Moran, so now employees are being proactive.

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"We're trying to work on the people who are hesitant, get them access and answer their questions," Moran said. "The people who are just waiting until it's easier to access - let's target those folks now too."

According to Moran, skipped appointments are another factor. Currently about 7% of patients cancel before their first shot and another 6% don't show up. For second shots, about 3% cancel and 4% more skip.

"Do you know what you're doing at 10:30 on Friday three weeks from now? I don't either. So, it's not easy to always book in advance and be able to keep that," Moran said. "People don't have rides, their job changes and they can't leave, their child gets sick or something comes up with their child at school."

Sunrise isn't alone. The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment tells CBS4 about 10% of its patients are overdue for their second shot. Eric Aakko, a spokesperson for the department, said one reason appears to be people are getting their second shot elsewhere.

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"We're not terribly concerned that we may have some people not showing up for their second dose because of the fact that they are getting it elsewhere," Aakko said. "Whether you get it with us or you go somewhere else, just make sure you get the second dose."

At Sunrise clinics, employees call patients the day of if they don't show up for their appointment. This week, they also began reaching out to each person that didn't show up over the weekend.

"Twenty five percent of them did reschedule, so we think that's successful and we're going to keep working on that," Moran said.

Moving forward, Moran said she is observing walk up vaccine clinics around the state, and hopes Sunrise can eventually host one. When the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available again, they plan to offer it too.

"It's one dose, it's one and done. It's easier for the patient, it's easier for us, and maybe that's how we test the walk-in approach."

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