By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4)– On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis introduced a team of health care professionals that will devote much of their energy to ensuring vaccine distribution is fair across the state. They are looking at underserved areas and more rural parts of Colorado that don’t have easy access to one of the major providers seen in the Denver metro area.

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Keith Keesling is the emergency manager for Dolores County, he’s been dealing with all things COVID-19 for nearly a year, “It is slightly difficult because we are about as remote from Denver as you can get in the state.”

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Vaccines are just the latest in navigating where his county of around 2,000 people fits in. Right now he says they’ve been very successful.

“The minimum shipment of vaccine is a 100-doses box which is what we get, but it works well with 2,000 people or larger rural counties, or larger in general. The way the metric works, they may only get enough vaccine for 1% of the county,” he said, “It doesn’t happen often, but being small is actually playing to our strengths.”

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There are rural areas of Colorado that the governor says will have fewer vaccine providers and be more restricted in accessing the vaccine. The state has now launched a team of health professionals to focus on equity in those areas and communities that are typically underserved.

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“We are making a deliberate effort to meet Coloradans where they live. We have partnered with community organizations already to do standup clinics, drive thru community health clinics and we are going to do more and more and more,” Polis said.

At the end of the day, Keesling says it really comes down to making the most out of what you have.

“We do what we have to do. Mobile vaccination vehicles, we will do that on our own. We take care of the citizens in our county.”

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One obstacle Dolores County and other small rural health departments are dealing with is having access to just one type of vaccine, Moderna, because of the strict storage requirements with the other one available, Pfizer.

Karen Morfitt