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COVID-19 vaccines and rewards

The COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available in our community, and Southwest Colorado leads the state in terms of the percent of our population that has received its first and second doses.

The Durango Business Improvement District offers another opportunity this coming Monday.

BID applied to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for a Community Based Organization clinic. CBO clinics allow local organizations a chance to target people who might have a harder time getting the vaccine. BID asked for and received 100 doses. These vaccines were for food service workers, but there are a few appointments still available that are now open to anyone who wants a vaccine.

We received the Moderna vaccine, which means anyone 18 or older can sign up for their first dose through www.comassvax.org/reg/7369580321. Our CBO clinic is this coming Monday at Animas City Theatre (128 E. College Drive, enter off the alley), from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Moderna requires a second dose four weeks later, so anyone who signs up will receive that on May 10, also from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Animas City Theatre.

There are those who are hesitant to take the vaccine for various reasons. I encourage everyone to speak with their doctor, or any medical professional, about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines that are available. They are safe, and while some people experience side effects, most do not.

I received my first and second doses, and now I am at full immunity. I am able to travel to see my aging parents, who I have not seen in many months. I can have friends who have also been vaccinated over for dinner at my house, and we do not have to wear masks. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I still practice social distancing and mask wearing in public. I log my temperature at work every day and continue to do all the other things to help keep others safe. Join me in getting your vaccine by attending the BID sponsored CBO clinic if it fits your schedule.

The rewards of receiving the vaccine extend beyond the personal. As the state transitions away from state mandated restrictions, local communities will be put in charge of how we can resume our normal activities. For La Plata County businesses, BID is strongly advocating for tying how “open” a business can be to our vaccination rates. BID supports loosening restrictions as we near herd immunity levels, which we believe are when about 70% of the community has received both doses of the vaccine (or just one if taking the Johnson & Johnson) and two weeks have passed.

As I write this, 53% of La Plata County’s population that is 16 and older has been vaccinated with one dose, and 38% has received their second dose. We are averaging well over 1,000 doses a week, both first and second. If we maintain that pace, we should be very close to herd immunity by the end of May.

Please get your vaccines as soon as you can, and sign up for BID’s clinic this Monday if you are available. It is the ticket to freedom!

Tim Walsworth is executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District. Contact him at timw@downtowndurango.org.