First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccination Administered in Montrose County

Montrose, COLO.—Montrose County and Montrose Memorial Hospital (MMH) are excited to share the news that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination was administered today in Montrose County. The first vaccine recipients of the vaccine were Dr. Alexis Garza, MMH Co-Emergency Medical Director and Veronica Ramirez, MMH Environmental Services Technician.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Multiple vaccines are under development and several are in large-scale clinical trials with tens of thousands of volunteers to ensure they are both safe and effective. Montrose County Public Health, Montrose County Emergency Management, and Montrose Memorial Hospital are working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on local vaccine distribution.

“This vaccine is our ticket to freedom. This vaccine will help our community and the entire nation return to events, concerts, and all the things we love,” said Montrose County Public Health Medical Advisor Dr. Joseph Adragna, MD, MHA, MGH. “Many of you have done the right thing and helped protect our community by wearing masks, keeping your distance, washing your hands, and staying home when sick. We have more one hurdle to make it through this pandemic. Please help the entire community by getting vaccinated when you are able. Vaccinate to help save lives and save jobs . . . today we go on the offensive.”

“I feel honored to be a part of a hospital system and a county that works so well together to implement this process,” said Dr. Garza. “I am proud to sit here with Veronica because together—doctors, nurses, hospital staff—we have been working to keep our patients and our families healthy through the pandemic. I will admit that I had my doubts initially when the vaccine was announced, but after research and discussion with colleagues, I feel 100 percent confident in the COVID-19 vaccination. As a healthcare worker, we dedicate our lives to helping others, but today took a vaccine for personal reasons: I took it to protect my family and my parents because they are not replaceable. I took it to get my community one step closer to ‘normal’ again.”

Currently, the state of Colorado is in Phase 1a of vaccination which includes the following groups:
• High risk workers in health care settings
• Residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other community-based, congregate living settings where most individuals over 65 years of age are receiving care, supervision, or assistance.

Phase 1a is defined at the federal and state level to preserve our critical health care workers and to protect those at highest risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19. The number of doses available in each area of the state is determined by federal and state government allocations based on population factors, priority group factors, and disease incidence.

Vaccine safety is a priority. All COVID-19 vaccines must go through a rigorous and multi-step testing, evaluation and approval process before they can be used. They will only be approved if they pass FDA’s safety and effectiveness standards. Vaccines will also be monitored for safety once they are given.

COVID-19 vaccine is not anticipated to be widely available to the general public until later in spring and summer. Eventually, vaccine will be available for everyone in all recommended groups.
For more information and for the most up-to-date information, visit our vaccine webpage here.