Public Health Emerging Issues

February 24, 2021


  • The United States surpasses 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19, 5,990 of those deaths occurring in Colorado residents. The grim milestone supports public health priority of getting Americans vaccinated in accordance with the phased distribution plan. 
  • Vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will meet Friday, February 26, to discuss whether to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization.
    • Clinical trials show Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine reduces severe illness by approximately 85% even with a lower overall efficacy (66%) than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 
  • As of the week ending February 20, 19,962 first doses and 6,789 second doses have been administered in Mesa County for a total of 26,751 doses. A Vaccine Dashboard is updated weekly on the Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) website.
  • Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues operating a Point of Distribution (POD) mass vaccination site by appointment only at the Grand Junction Convention Center, located at 159 Main Street. 
  • Last week’s wintry weather in some parts of the country has delayed vaccine shipments.
    • MCPH received the bulk of its vaccine on Monday, February 22 with some vaccine still arriving Tuesday, February 23. These shipments are arriving about one week later than usual. 
    • Due to the delay in vaccine delivery, MCPH was not able to plan vaccine appointments with as much advance planning as usual. Typically, MCPH plans vaccine appointments mid-late week for the next 5-7 days. Due to the shipping delays patients were contacted 3-4 days in advance.
    • The delay in shipment has not impacted previously scheduled vaccine appointments. 
    • MCPH does not schedule appointments without having the vaccine on hand to ensure we can follow through with all appointments scheduled. 
    • No appointments were canceled due to delays in vaccine delivery.
  • MCPH’s mass vaccination site plans to administer 700-800 doses per day for the remainder of the current week with a goal to return to 1,000 first and second doses per day next week.
  • A vaccine interest form is available on the MCPH website. The interest form can be used for individuals 65 years and older as well as those with two or more severe health conditions.
  • If you do not have regular access to a computer call 970-248-6900. Press Option 7, and leave a callback number. 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).
  • Colorado is currently in phase 1B.2 of vaccine distribution. Providers can offer vaccine to all previously eligible groups as well as:
    • Individuals age 65-69.
    • Childcare workers in licensed child care programs, teachers (full-time and substitutes), and other school support positions (bus, food, counselors, administrative, safety, and additional support services offered inside the school).
    • Members of the Executive and Judicial branches of state government
  • Phase 1B.3 is estimated to begin in March after the state of Colorado reaches the goal of vaccinating 70% of Coloradans over the age of 70 statewide.
  • Phase 2 is scheduled to begin this spring.
  • Phase 3 is on track to begin this summer, if not sooner, based on vaccine availability.