By Alan Gionet

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado is preparing to launch a new program which would allow a company to host a COVID-19 vaccination event. Businesses will soon be able to sign up to have vaccine administrators come to their office or workplace and give out shots.

(credit: CBS)

“We’re very excited to make that convenient to employers of all sizes across our state. As a reminder, employees in Colorado do get four hours of paid time off for vaccine appointments,” said Gov. Jared Polis.

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Vaccination coordinators are seeing a drop-off in vaccinations from a month or two ago. “We had people that were very, very motivated to get the vaccine. So they were very willing to overcome multiple barriers to get it,” said Liz Wilkinson, COVID vaccine manager for Stride Community Health. “What we are finding now is that the people that haven’t received the vaccine yet, there are multiple barriers.”

Earlier in the year, about 5% of people booked for vaccination appointments did not show up. That percentage has increased to 15 or 20%.

Wilkinson noticed that proximity is a big issue.

“So it’s at a place that they’ve been before. It’s at their children’s high school or at a local area where they’ve been before where it’s not somewhere new.”

Businesses will soon be able to sign up to bring state help in. Stride has already been helping to bring vaccines to places like schools and some businesses. This Friday, there will be vaccinations at the Colorado Film School, based at Community College of Aurora.

“The resilience they’ve shown throughout this whole thing has just been extraordinary,” said Film School Director Brian Steward about the 300 plus students who have been learning online. “We have students who have been going to our program since fall who have never stepped foot in this building. This might be a nice incentive for them.”

The reasons some students have not yet been vaccinated may involve their jobs, says Steward.

“They’re worried about the after effects. A lot of them work jobs where their employers aren’t necessarily aren’t as forgiving as you might hope, and they’re worried about being sick the next day. And they’re worried about missing a day of work and they’re worried about losing their jobs.”

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The school posted about it on social media and reactions from their students seem to be positive.

“What I’m seeing is that students are happy we’re taking an active role,” said Steward.

Stride expects more demand at schools with the Pfizer vaccine now approved down to ages 12 and older.

“We are anticipating that that will increase demand a little bit. So we will do a lot of partnerships in schools with that drop in age,” said Wilkinson.

Partnerships are likely to expand with businesses as well.

“At this point what we’re seeing is that any barrier to get the vaccine is going to cause them not to get it. So we have to remove as many of those barriers as possible,” she added.

Going to the places where people are should help. Steward believes it will help bring his school together.

“I think our students are really looking forward to getting back in the fall and to meeting one another and to making movies together.”

Employees whose employer is not fulfilling the paid time off rule can call the Department of Labor and Employment at 303-318-8441.

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While the program won’t be underway for another two weeks, employers that would like to sign up for an at-work vaccination clinic can soon sign up online.

Alan Gionet