By Tori Mason

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – About 55% of the Colorado’s population has received the COVID-19 vaccine, and health officials are trying to get shots in more arms. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is reaching out to eligible, unvaccinated residents.

(credit: Getty Images)

The CDPHE has called 534,000 Coloradans who’ve yet to get their shots and claims to have had over meaningful conversations 33,000 of them.

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CDPHE says they’ve learned something from each of these conversations that will help them guide Coloradans in their calls in the coming weeks and months. Many counties are still lagging in vaccination rates. Tri-County Health Department says Aurora’s vaccine rate is about 48%, much lower than the state’s 70% goal. However, TCHD says that number could be lower due to errors such as coding issues.

“We have some difficulty precisely calculating rates inside cities because we only get data from the state health department through the immunization information system by county,” said John Douglas, Executive Director of Tri-County Health.

“We get an address, but we have to Geo Map the address to figure out whether it falls within city limits or not. Some of the information we get doesn’t adequately allow us to assign it to a city, so that creates some caveats.”

Despite the possible errors, Douglas says Aurora’s numbers are still lower than health officials would like them to be. The goal now is to bring mobile clinics to areas that need it most. TCHD is also working with the state health department to get vaccine buses.

Douglas says the country’s lower vaccination number among minorities can be seen in Aurora, but it’s not the only reason their rate is low.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, these people are hesitant to receive a vaccine,’ or ‘they haven’t made up their mind,’ and I think that is true for some people, but for a lot of people, their lives are really busy. They have two jobs or they’re single parents,” said Douglas.

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Dr. P.J. Parmar, founder of the Mango House in Aurora, once reserved shots for underserved neighbors near his clinic off Colfax, but the state said he couldn’t.

Then the vaccine rush ended.

“There were some people at first who literally would lie to get the vaccine,” said Parmar. “A few weeks after that, it stopped mattering anyway because vaccine demand started dropping.”

Now the Delta variant is a concern. Douglas says hundreds of people have died from COVID across Tri-Counties since they’ve been vaccine eligible.

(credit: CBS)

Meanwhile, Parmar risked his ability to give vaccines, for people afraid to get them elsewhere.

“I don’t think it’s a time issue anymore. The vaccine is available so many places. We’re not the only one doing walk-ins,” said Parmar. “We are in a place of free choice and they can do that to themselves. It’s unfortunate.”

The City of Aurora is still offering several ways to get the vaccine.

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Mangos is giving free vaccines between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. No appointment necessary.

Tori Mason