DENVER – While the operation of a COVID-19 vaccination site is unlike other FEMA activations, it is absolutely in keeping with FEMA’s mission of helping people before, during, and after disasters. The agency was honored to partner with the State of Colorado to help vaccinate the Pueblo Community.
FEMA wrapped up the federal Community Vaccination Site at the Colorado State Fairgrounds on June 14, 2021, after nine weeks of operation, one week longer than the original eight-week planned partnership with the state. The main mission of the site was to reach socially vulnerable populations in southern Colorado and was the only federal pilot site in FEMA Region 8, which includes Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
“From the first day of our presence at the pilot vaccination site our goal was to make the vaccine available to everyone who wanted it,” said Nancy Dragani, acting regional administrator for FEMA Region 8. “Making the site accessible to those without a car, not requiring appointments, having extended evening and weekend hours, and taking vaccine out into the community, are all efforts that reduced barriers to vaccine access.”
The main site at the Colorado State Fairgrounds was supported by Department of Defense soldiers, which included medics and other personnel from the 3rd Cavalry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, with support from Task Force Center West and the Michigan National Guard. Centura Health and Covid Check Colorado provided additional clinical and non-clinical support. More than 25,000 vaccinations were administered at the Pilot site in Pueblo.
In cooperation with the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, Centura Health, Covid Check Colorado, volunteers, and many local community based organizations, the main site was supplemented by a Joint Vaccination Circuit (JVC) and a Mobile Mission designed to reach those with the greatest barriers to vaccine access. The JVC visited schools, churches and community centers in Pueblo and Fremont counties, providing two Pfizer doses over a six-week circuit, administering nearly 2,000 additional doses. The Mobile Mission vaccinated over 1,000 home-based individuals, migrant farm workers, jail inmates, and visitors to the Pueblo Rescue Mission and the Pueblo Soup Kitchen.
While the Community Vaccination Site at the fairgrounds has closed, there are numerous locations in Pueblo providing first and second vaccine doses. Individuals can visit www.vaccines.gov or https://covid19.colorado.gov/ to search for a provider, or call Colorado’s Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) for assistance.
Additional information about FEMA’s Public Assistance programs can be found at www.fema.gov/assistance/public.