By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– More than 2.5 million Coloradans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but the state is still working to get shots in more arms. Mass vaccination sites have made it easy to get vaccinated without an appointment, but some providers are making the process difficult.

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Paulette McMahan-Watson took off work to get her first vaccine. She doesn’t have a vehicle and her work schedule is tough to plan around, so proximity is important. She was elated to find an appointment at a nearby grocery store.

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“Most of my co-workers have gotten their second shots, so I’m behind the game,” said McMahan-Watson. “I accidentally showed up a few days early for my appointment, but they were going to work me in.”

When her time came to get the vaccination, the provider asked for her insurance card. McMahan-Watson told the provider she has coverage, but she didn’t bring her card with her. She figured she didn’t need it.

Earlier this week, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said, “When getting the vaccine, you shouldn’t be asked for an insurance card. You shouldn’t be asked for payment.”

When McMahan-Watson told the provider she didn’t have her card, they denied her the vaccine.

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(credit: CBS)

“I asked if there was another way. She said and I quote, ‘If you are insured, and I enter you as uninsured, you’ll pop back and we won’t get paid,’” said McMahan-Watson. “I’m 51 years old. I don’t have it on my phone like everybody else.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is free, but some providers ask insured patients to provide proof to cover distribution fees. If you’re uninsured, some providers only ask for an ID, or nothing at all.

“I would have been better off lying. What does that say about our healthcare system? Why should I have to lie to get a shot that we’re all trying to get, so we can be safe?” said McMahan-Watson.

She even offered to pay the fees insurance would’ve covered, but the provider said no. Now she’s back at square one, looking for more time off work and another appointment.

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A stack of COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards from the CDC. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

“I guess I can Uber or Lyft to an appointment,” said McMahan-Watson. “This is my second year in Colorado. My first year was under lockdown. My husband and I want to go to Red Rocks for the first time, we want to do summer things. I might need that vaccine card.”

Tori Mason