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Public Health Emerging Issues: COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Public Health Emerging Issues: COVID-19 Vaccination Update


Vaccination Efforts

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is free. 
  • No appointment, ID or insurance is required.
  • Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. 
  • People who are fully vaccinated can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic. Learn more about what you and your child or teen can do when you have been fully vaccinated
  • Vaccination is critically important as case counts continue to be at a sustained increase in Mesa County and community transmission of variants including the more contagious, Delta variant is widespread.
  • Mesa County Public Health (MCPH)  has adjusted operations to make it easier than ever to get a COVID-19 vaccine.  
  • The Community Vaccination Site, located at 510 29 ½ Road, accepts walk-ins for the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Hours of operation are Wednesday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Immediate scheduling is still available and can make the process easier, especially for those who need or desire a specific vaccine type (i.e 12-17 age group only eligible for Pfizer vaccine). 
  • Children 12 years and older are able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
    • MCPH administers Pfizer vaccine Wednesdays and Saturdays. The scheduling website will only allow appointments for this age group on scheduled Pfizer days, and a parent or guardian must be present at the vaccine appointment.
  • Schedule your vaccine today using these links: English or  Spanish. You can choose your vaccine type on the scheduling website.
  • A community vaccination effort in the form of a cash incentive campaign is underway. Cash prizes, including two $500 prizes a week and a grand prize that could build up to $90,000 are up for grabs. The first two $500 dollar winners will be announced tomorrow, June 11.
    • Mesa County residents, regardless of where they were vaccinated are eligible to enter.
    • Residents must ENTER to win, this contest does not automatically enroll participants.
    • Previously vaccinated individuals are able to register. Enter your most recent vaccination date on your entry form.
    • More information can be found here.
  • Individuals may enter the Big Shot giveaway in addition to the Colorado Comeback Cash initiative through the State of Colorado.
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is launching the Power the Comeback business pledge, website, and toolkit to support Colorado businesses and their frontline workers. Find the pledge and additional resources at
  • As you plan summertime activities, remember that full protection builds in the two weeks following your second dose (or after your first dose of a single dose vaccine).  Plan today to ensure the safest possible interactions this summer.
  • If you are unable to complete scheduling online, call 970-248-6900. Press Option 7. Individuals who are more comfortable communicating in Spanish should call the Mesa County Public Health Spanish-language line at 970-255-3700.
  • The State of Colorado has set up a Vaccine Hotline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with answers to general vaccine questions available in multiple languages. Call 1-877-CO-VAX-CO (1-877-268-2926).

Latest Data

  • As of the week ending June 5, 51,567 first doses and 51,411 second doses have been administered in Mesa County for a total of 102,978 doses.  By age that breaks down as the following percentages for first doses:
    • Age 12-15:  12%
    • Age 16-19: 21.1%
    • Age 20-29: 27%
    • Age 30-39: 32.8%
    • Age 40-49: 37.5%
    • Age 50-59: 46.3%
    • Age 60-69: 65.3%
    • 70+: 67.4%
    • Total: 43% 
  • Approximately 39% of Mesa County residents age 12 and older are fully vaccinated, meaning they have received both doses in a two-dose series, or a single dose vaccine. 
  • A Vaccine Dashboard is updated weekly on the MCPH website with new data related to vaccine by age group.
LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT: Mesa County Experiencing Widespread Transmission of Highly Contagious Delta Variant of COVID-19

LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT: Mesa County Experiencing Widespread Transmission of Highly Contagious Delta Variant of COVID-19

Mesa County was the first location in Colorado where the B.1.617.2 variant was detected. The variant, first identified in India, was recently renamed the Delta variant and now accounts for more than 6% of all infections in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Since it was first detected in Mesa County a little more than a month ago, this highly transmissible variant is spreading rapidly. There are now 125 identified cases of the Delta variant in Mesa County residents. Not all positive cases are sequenced for variants, meaning the actual number of infections is much higher.

To prevent the spread of this highly contagious illness, please stay home and do not go to work, child care, or gatherings if you have symptoms of any kind, even if you are vaccinated. Mesa County’s COVID-19 case data over the most recent 14 day period shows the most infections in the 10-19 age group (138). Another 50 cases have been in individuals age 0-9 in the last two weeks.

What we know about the Delta variant:

  • More contagious and transmissible, particularly among youth ages 12-20.
    • A recent study in India found it to be 50% more contagious than other COVID-19 strains.
    • In Mesa County 38 of the 125 Delta variant cases have been reported in individuals between the ages of 0-19.
  • Higher risk of hospitalization in unvaccinated individuals.
    • A CDC study found a rise in adolescent (ages 12 to17) hospitalizations in March-April for all strains of COVID-19.

If you are not fully vaccinated, please take the following precautions:

  • Avoid crowds and keep your distance from others, this virus and variant strain is highly contagious and spreads mainly through respiratory droplets when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes.
  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings, wherever social distancing is not possible, and where required by federal or other facility regulations.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Vaccination is an effective way to prevent illness and variant spread:

  • All Mesa County residents age 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated.
  • The vaccine is widely available in our community at numerous pharmacies and the Community Vaccination Site at Mesa County Public Health. Click here to schedule your vaccine.
  • There is no cost for COVID-19 vaccination.
Spring Open Burn Season Ends May 31

Spring Open Burn Season Ends May 31

Spring Open Burn Season ends two hours before dusk on Monday, May 31. Residents must use alternative options instead of burning. Agricultural burning may continue through the end of the year.

  • Take yard waste to the Mesa County Organic Materials Composting Facility at Mesa County Solid Waste, 3071 U.S. Hwy. 50. The facility accepts material for composting at no charge and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday. For more information, call (970) 263-9319.
    1. Residents should note that the Mesa County Landfill is required to close during periods of high winds, so if you plan on visiting the Composting Facility on a windy day, call (970) 241-6846 to make sure the facility is open.
  • Compost leaves and grass clippings yourself. This can improve water retention in your yard or garden. 
  • Rent or borrow a wood chipper for your tree and shrub trimmings. Chipped branches can also be good mulch.

Visit for information air quality in Mesa County, 

including a real-time air quality map.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Contributing to Health Care System Overload

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Contributing to Health Care System Overload


Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to respond to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases and is seeing increased community transmission with variant strains. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly doubled in recent weeks. On April 13 there were three (3) ICU patients and seven hospitalized with COVID-19 in Mesa County. One month later, on May 13, hospitals reported eight (8) COVID-19 patients in ICU, and 25 total confirmed hospitalizations.

Western Colorado is a medical hub, with severe cases transported to emergency departments and trauma centers in Mesa County. “This is the season with increased outdoor activity, traditionally our hospitals fill up this time of year due to injuries and trauma related to those activities,” Community Hospital Chief Medical Officer, Thomas Tobin, MD said. Dr. Andrew Jones, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, St. Mary’s Medical Center explained, “the additional patients due to COVID-19 are putting a strain on the system. I encourage all eligible individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as this effectively prevents most illness and nearly all serious disease.” 

Mesa County has been successful in slowing and containing COVID-19 in our community throughout the pandemic, these variants create an urgent need to continue the measures to protect our community, our economy, and our hospitals. 

“We are seeing an increase in COVID 19 positivity rates and hospitalization rates as well as increasing numbers of staff testing positive for COVID 19. Like our community hospital partners, these dynamics are impacting and putting stress on our emergency room resources, system, and staffing levels,” VA Western Colorado Health Care System Executive Director, Richard Salgueiro, said.

Measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses continue to be important. “We recognize more than a year into this pandemic, our community is tired of public health recommendations,” Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health shared. “Now that COVID-19 vaccines are readily available there is a clear path to end this pandemic, choosing to get a COVID-19 vaccine is an effective way to protect yourself and your community,” Kuhr added. 

Case investigation and contact tracing are instrumental to MCPH’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Case investigation has shown transmission occurs most frequently in settings where larger groups gather; such as social events, milestone celebrations, or events where multiple households interact. “Think about what we’ve learned over the last year and take precautions to prevent the spread,” Kuhr said. “Our residents know what to do and how to stay safe, but they need to know that COVID-19 is still here. We must learn how to live with it while protecting ourselves and others.”   

MCPH asks residents for their continued support and to consider aiding the community efforts to end the pandemic. The most effective ways to prevent the spread of any COVID-19 virus are to stay home (away from work, school, child care, and activities) when you are not feeling well, wash your hands often, and get a COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated individuals should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others and wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost, and identification or insurance is not required. Eligibility recently expanded to include individuals as young as 12 years of age.

Schedule your appointment at the Mesa County Community Vaccination Site here

SHARE YOUR STORY: “What matters most to me is taking care of my family.” – Giovanny

Giovanny’s Vaccine Story:

Photo story by Sylvia Johnson. Made possible by National Geographic Society’s Emergency Fund for Journalists and created in collaboration with Garfield County Public Health.

Han cambiado muchos aspectos de la vida. En mi trabajo, en la vida personal, con los niños, en todo ha cambiado. El uso de la mascarilla, las restricciones de que no puedes hacer lo que hacías en tu vida cotidiana, pero poco a poco se ha ido uno adaptando a esto. 

A mí me ha dado Covid una vez. Estuvo un poco duro, porque los síntomas que yo tuve fueron mucha fiebre y dolor de huesos exagerado. Yo no perdí el olfato y el sabor, pero no podía pasar comida. Es lo que más batallé, que no podía pasar la saliva y no podía comer nada, aunque yo tenía mucha hambre.

Decidí ponerme la vacuna primero, porque ya me dio el coronavirus y ya no quiero que me vuelva a dar. Segundo, porque trató de cuidar mi trabajo y trato de cuidar a mi familia, a mi esposa. Mi esposa, de hecho, como trabaja para salud pública, ya se la puso hace mucho tiempo, fue de las primeras personas. A ella no le ha dado y ella ha estado conmigo. Tengo un niño de cinco años y trato de cuidarlo. Lo que más me importa es cuidar a mi familia.

Yo soy carnicero, trabajo en una carnicería y atiendo a mucha gente. Por eso es que también tomé la decisión de ponerme la vacuna, porque yo puedo estar cubierto, pero no sé las demás personas. En el trabajo, si estás vacunado, ya no tienes que hacer la cuarentena, porque estás cubierto con la vacuna. Yo pienso que es una protección tener la vacuna y estar en un trabajo.

Tengo tres hermanas y algunas habían optado por no ponérsela, pero ahorita cambiaron de pensamiento, ya están tratando de ponérsela, porque vieron lo que pasó conmigo, que nada más fue un día realmente lo que te sientes mal, no tiene ningún efecto secundario la vacuna.


Project Summary 

La Vacuna es Para Nosotros (The Vaccine is for Us) is a photo essay consisting of 14 photo stories created by Sylvia Johnson in collaboration with Garfield County Public Health as a tool for local community organizations to share stories and build trust in the Covid-19 vaccine among the Latinx immigrant community. Shot as environmental portraits, these photo stories include families, restaurant workers, business owners, farm workers, law officers, housekeepers, medical interpreters, and students who each share what their experience with the Covid-19 pandemic has been like and what motivated them to want to get vaccinated. The photo stories are available in Spanish and English. As we aim for widespread immunity through vaccination to stop this pandemic, this project humanizes the fallout of the illness, the process of getting vaccinated, and the protection the vaccine offers for being able to live and work safely again.

Sylvia is a National Geographic Explorer and a third culture kid who was born in Latin America and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley. She has been working as a bilingual contact tracer for Garfield County since November and received a small rapid response grant from National Geographic to create this vaccine equity storytelling project.