DENVER (CBS4) – As some parts of Colorado begin to move toward vaccinating the general public over the age of 70, a robust clinic on the top level of Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver is still working to fully vaccinate hospital staff and other medical workers.
“It has been an amazing experience, definitely, you see people filled with hope and excited to be part of this. It’s also been very busy, long days, we’ve been doing weekends as well,” said Laura-Anne Cleveland, the incident commander for vaccinations at PSL. “For the Pfizer vaccine, on Monday we will complete the course so that will mean that everybody has the second dose.”
But getting more than 75% of the staff vaccinated has taken weeks of coordination and little sleep from leaders like Cleveland. The hospital has essentially set up a new department without hiring new staff.
“Those are nurses and sometimes our pharmacists who are capable of giving them. They then give the vaccine to individuals. They’re picking up extra shifts and helping their own teammates because it’s busy and we’re still caring for a lot of COVID patients here,” Cleveland said. “We don’t want to waste a single dose and that’s something that weighs very heavily on every single decision we make.”
Three vaccine administering stations are set up in a room with beautiful views overlooking the entire Front Range. As the team works towards full vaccination of the entire hospital staff, some doses are being given to first responders and medical professionals from offices off of the PSL campus.
A 15-minute waiting area, to make sure recipients don’t have any adverse reaction from the vaccine, has become a place for people to reflect on the monumental achievement of getting the vaccine. Posters are available for people to fill out why they got the vaccine and stickers are given out to people who got their second dose.
“We wanted to celebrate the second dose. This brings it to completion. It really, for me personally, it meant in seven to 14 days I was good, I was safe,” Cleveland said.
It’s not yet known when PSL will be able to move on to vaccinating adults over the age of 70 partially because of supply.
“We are hoping we’re going to get more and so we can expand because our heart is to reach out to those in the high risk categories coming up,” Cleveland said.