Mt. San Rafael Hospital staff

Mt. San Rafael Hospital staff (L-R) includes Clay Hart, Victoria Velurde, Shannon Casilano, Mandy Shaiffer, Irene Trujillo, Sherri Hart and Kim Lucero.

Many people wanting a COVID-19 vaccine received their first dose at the Trinidad Community Center Monday and Tuesday.

This vaccination site was only offering “first doses” but will be offering second doses of the vaccine for people who received a first dose at the community center on Monday, March 15 or Tuesday, March 16, said Kim Lucero, director of planning and development at Mt. San Rafael Hospital.

Lucero estimated that by 2 p.m. on Monday the site had administered 200 doses for the day.

For some people, receiving the vaccine isn’t only for their own benefit, but to help protect people they care about.

Jake Hamlin, a resident of Trinidad, said he was trying to get his second shot Monday-afternoon because he has older relatives, so it is a “big deal” to protect them. He also said he trusted the information coming from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the vaccine.

The process of getting the vaccine was much easier than finding information about vaccination sites online. The “patient” filled out some forms, walked down the hallway, sat down and received the shot before sitting for about 15 minutes in the community center gymnasium for staff to watch for side effects.

The cost of the vaccine is free, but providers can charge insurance companies an administration fee for administering the vaccine, according to the Las Animas-Huerfano County Board of Health website. Organizations vaccinating uninsured people can be compensated for the administration cost by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the approximate $23 cost.

No one regardless of age, or status on the vaccination grid, is being turned away in Las Animas County according to several providers. This is due to the county being ahead of the rest of the state for the rate of vaccines administered because of the county’s low population and a corresponding high percentage of people over the age of 65 who have already received at least their first dose.

Governor Polis recently said that should be the case across the state by mid-April and expected all of the general public would be able to get the vaccine across Colorado by then. It’s possible that over 50 percent of Las Animas County’s population will have received their first vaccination shot by the end of this week.

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