By Hannah Sullivan
I started serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) in August of 2020. As the end of my service year now quickly approaches, I have been taking time to reflect on my experiences.
COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout – The Early Days
Easily the most exciting event over the past year was the Emergency Use Authorization and subsequent rollout procedure of an effective COVID-19 vaccine (well, technically three vaccines). When this process began in December, it was elating to think that life could potentially return to “normal,” but daunting to ponder the logistics of the mass distribution effort. The biggest challenge during this phase was trying to balance efficiency with equity. It was imperative to vaccinate as many people as possible while working to provide opportunities for people who had been most impacted already by the pandemic, and those facing barriers to access the vaccine. For example, a clinic with 1,000 appointment slots could fill within minutes if it was posted on the JCPH website, but it would be filled by folks with access to the internet, time, and flexibility. To make 1,000 calls and register people without computers would take many more resources.
By Olwen Menez
The CO-mmunity Corps blog series highlights the incredible work that members of the CO-mmunity Corps (Immunize Colorado’s AmeriCorps VISTA program) are doing across Colorado to build capacity for immunization programs.
On August 3rd, I started my first day as an Immunization Outreach and Education Coordinator at Jefferson County Public Health, the county agency that provides public health services to a large area just east of Denver, Colorado that includes urban, suburban, rural and mountain communities. Its almost 800 square miles is home to close to 600,00 diverse residents. I was placed at the Jefferson County Public Health department by Immunize Colorado to provide a year of national service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
Guest post by Tri-County Health Department
When you think of back-to-school season, you might think about new books, backpacks and binders, but you may not think of vaccines! Colorado law requires students at licensed child care centers and schools to be vaccinated against certain diseases. Many people know that vaccines are recommended for babies, but additional doses are required for kindergarten and sixth grade entry to keep kids healthy and protected from preventable illness throughout the school year. Many colleges also require certain vaccines after age sixteen. More information on which vaccines are required in Colorado can be found here.
New parenthood is incredibly exciting, scary, wonderful, and challenging—all at once! With so much information and so many opinions from different sources, it’s hard to know just how to best keep a new baby safe. From car seat installation to finding a pediatrician to safe sleep, having evidence-based expert information is key. And parents shouldn’t have to navigate their parenthood journey alone. Enter: The Annual Community Baby Fair, hosted by the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC)!