PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The loss of Johnson & Johnson vaccines ahead of the next week could put a strain on sprawling Colorado mountain communities that were looking forward to the “one and done” shot.
“We actually had a Carbondale clinic planned for this afternoon that we are keeping,” Sara Branaird, Garfield County Public Health Nurse Manager.
Those folks will now have to get two shots, which means another appointment, but they did not have to be canceled.
“We are just replacing that vaccine with Moderna,” she said.
It’s going to be tricky for a lot of health administrators across Colorado, as news of the CDC and FDA recommendation for a pause with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine means thousands of shots will be put on hold.
“We’re basically just past Vail, so we’re on the I-70 corridor, and we butt up against Aspen,” Branaird described of the area she serves.
The news also felt like a setback to many seasonal staff members of mountain resorts.READ MORE: What You Need To Know About The Johnson And Johnson Vaccine 'Pause'
“It really showed up in our workforce, obviously as you can imagine in our community, a tourist community, our seasonal workers that had such huge contact with the public,” Gabriel Muething, Pitkin County Mass Vaccination Clinic Operations Chief.
It would have been easier for many of those workers to get one shot, especially as some may move after the ski season wraps up.
“The loss of Johnson and Johnson will be interesting for us as we had that as part of our plan to continue to do large numbers,” he said.
Pitkin County also had one of the highest incidence rates of COVID-19 in the state. It recently had to set the dial to level orange.
“I think without a doubt everything will be okay. I think with any new medication that’s out on the market we’re going to learn things as we go, whether it’s from side effect profiles or just changes we need to make with treatment,” Muething added.
Gov. Jared Polis said in a press conference Tuesday he believes the vaccine may come back in a few days, however health officials are not making plans to do that yet.