PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- When the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Pueblo Mall first opened its doors to seniors above the age of 70 years old, Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor called the operation a "debacle".
Lines extended from the Pueblo Mall parking lot all the way to I-25. Law enforcement even had to turn some seniors away.
"We had to switch gears and figure out how we can deliver [vaccines] more efficiently," said Sheriff Kirk Taylor to KRDO.
The Pueblo County Sheriff's office is now dedicating a number of resources at their Emergency Operations Center (EOC), usually utilized for natural disasters, to make sure the vaccination process runs more smoothly.
Any senior above the age of 70 that lives in Pueblo County will have to pre-register before you can get your vaccine. If you don't pre-register you will be turned away at the vaccination clinic.
There are two ways to pre-register so you can get notified for a vaccine. The first is online at PuebloVaxNow.com.
On the page, you are instructed to fill in your name, phone number, and email address. Once you fill out the page with your information, hit submit, and you will be entered into a vaccination list.
The second way you can register is by phone. Seniors are instructed to call the COVID-19 vaccination hotline: (719) 583-4444. A call center at the Joint Information Center (JIC) has been set up to take down your information and make sure you are entered into the vaccination list. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Once you register - either online or by phone - you can expect to receive 3 separate robocalls from the number (719)-583-4444. These calls are important, and if you want a vaccine you must follow their directions.
The first robocall will ask for a time frame on when you are available to be vaccinated on the following day. You'll be asked to dial a number on your phone to confirm what time frame works best for your schedule. Make sure you dial a single number in accordance with a time frame listed in the call.
Lisa Shorter with the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office says some seniors failed to dial a number or haven't answered their phones altogether. The callers at the JIC will now have to call those individuals personally to confirm which time frame works best for them.
The second robocall will be made shortly after the first one, confirming your time for vaccination. Once you receive this call, you'll be told when and where you need to be in order to receive your dose of the vaccine. The call will also include further information on what to expect once you arrive at the vaccination clinic.
The third robocall is a reminder that you are on the list, and they are working to getting you vaccinated as soon as possible. If you haven't received the first two calls listed above, you can expect to receive this robocall once every day.
Do not appear at the vaccination clinic unless you've been informed to do so by a robocall.
Once you've received your first dose of the vaccine there is no need to register a second time. You are already in the system, and you will be informed on when you should receive your second dose at a later date.
You are permitted to register, either online or by phone, on behalf of a family member or a patient. So long as you make it clear who will be receiving the vaccine. If you register under your own name and not the person's receiving the vaccine, there is a chance they might not receive the vaccine when they show up to the clinic.
So far, 12,000 seniors above the age of 70 have pre-registered to receive the vaccine. On Wednesday, Sheriff Taylor says around 650 seniors will receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Taylor says the infrastructure is in place to do more. Unfortunately, the shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine to Pueblo County are inconsistent.
"We can do 180 vaccines per hour," said Sheriff Taylor. "We could literally do 1,500 hundred [a day.] But this situation is extremely fluid because we won't know how many vaccines we will have available for tomorrow. Usually, we won't get that information until late in the afternoon or evening."