PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4) – The federal government is getting involved in Colorado’s effort to vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID-19. The effort will take place in Pueblo starting next week and will nearly double the number of people able to get vaccinated to some 3,000 each day.

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Lynn Kimbrough, a spokesperson for FEMA told CBS4, “We will be able to increase the number of people who will be able to get appointments and get a shot in their arms.”

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That will include a mobile operation to reach people who cannot easily access the fairgrounds.
The Pueblo announcement came from the White House as one of three large new sites around the country.

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“Each one is located in high risk communities as defined by the CDC social vulnerability index and other factors,” Andy Slavitt, speaking for the White House on the COVID-19 vaccine effort said at a news conference.

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The military including the national guard has already been involved in vaccinations both at home and abroad. Now, it will send some 100 personnel from Fort Carson under the U.S. Northern Command to the Pueblo location.

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“Typically what happens is our forces will roll in, coordinate any those logistics. We will have a day or two of training,” Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, said.

As they vaccinate, other members of the military are themselves allowed to refuse to be inoculated, but so far the Northern Command has an 80% acceptance rate.

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Medics, nurses and others will administer the vaccine in Pueblo to those who sign up. VanHerck noted the biggest problem they face is people making appointments, then not showing up.

Rick Sallinger