Boulder Community Health (BCH) President & CEO Rob Vissers, M.D. provided an email update on Jan. 7, 2021 to community members.

The national roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines has created great hope across the country. People are elated that these vital tools for ending the pandemic have been proven safe and effective.

Colorado’s plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccine is based on federal guidelines designed to dispense the limited supply of vaccines in an ethical and transparent way. Boulder Community Health (BCH), like all health systems, uses our available supply of vaccine to support the state’s plan within our community.

To date (Jan. 7), we have administered approximately 3,300 COVID vaccinations. We started by providing first doses to the groups initially prioritized by the state plan — health care workers and first responders. (It’s important to remember that both COVID vaccines require two doses for maximum effectiveness.)

When Gov. Jared Polis recently approved vaccination of Colorado residents age 70 and older, we quickly started vaccinating at-risk seniors. This week, we also started giving second doses to health care workers.

We are being as aggressive as possible with vaccination scheduling, but due to ongoing concerns about vaccine supplies, we can only schedule a limited number of patients each week. As we receive more vaccine, we will notify more patients.

Vaccination for People 70 and Older

We started our vaccinations of those 70 and older with patients who have an established relationship with a BCH primary care physician. We will soon expand to those with an established relationship with any BCH physician. We will continue to focus on these groups through early- to mid-February, depending on the supply of vaccine.

We then plan to expand distribution to patients of affiliated and independent medical clinics across our community. It’s important to recognize that there are about 30,000 Boulder County residents age 70 and older, so it may take a few months to finish vaccinating that group, depending on the supply of vaccine.

BCH and other local medical clinics are not compiling waiting lists for vaccination. However, residents age 70 and older can take important action now to be notified when you are eligible to schedule an appointment to receive your vaccine.

To receive a vaccination through BCH, you need to register for the MyBCH patient portal, a secure online connection to our organization. All vaccination registration and scheduling will be done through MyBCH. If you already have a MyBCH account, you should check that your personal information is up to date. If you need to set up an account, you can do that here. (You do not need to be a current BCH patient to establish a MyBCH account.) General questions about setting up the account should be sent to this email — MyBCH@bch.org.

You will be notified when you are eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment through an email from MyBCH.

You can find more information on BCH’s plan for vaccinating people age 70 and over here.

Vaccination for People Under Age 70

The State has developed a plan for distributing vaccine to all Colorado citizens. BCH and other Colorado health systems will adhere to those guidelines. You can find updated information on Colorado’s plan here. We anticipate that it will take the majority of this year to vaccinate all Coloradans.

You can find regular updates on the BCH vaccination program at bch.org/covidvaccine

You can sign up to receive BCH emails at bch.org/signup

Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness

There’s intense interest in understanding more about the COVID vaccines — how were they developed, how they work, etc. We encourage you to learn more by listening to a thorough and valuable presentation from Dr. Mark King and Dr. Amie Meditz of BCH’s Beacon Center for Infectious Diseases. The presentation includes information on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, how mRNA vaccines work, and much more. Our team encourages you to watch their presentation and then share the link with family and friends in other communities.

The vaccine rollout offers renewed hope in our fight against COVID-19. That said, it’s important to remember that mask wearing and social distancing continue to be critical components in this fight. We thank you for your sustained vigilance and wish you and yours a very happy new year.