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Why mass COVID-19 vaccination sites have returned to Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Mass, state-run vaccination sites have returned to Colorado, that includes in El Paso and Pueblo County. This time, the sites will distribute COVID-19 vaccines specific to the omicron sub-variant.

On opening day for two vaccine sites in Southern Colorado, 13 Investigates asked the state why these sites are necessary after they closed on March 31 and Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced his "Roadmap to Moving Forward" campaign on February 25.

"Our goal here is to increase access to the new Pfizer and Moderna omicron vaccine," Heather Roth, CDPHE Immunization Branch Chief, explained.

Roth said each of the ten sites will stay open throughout September and into October to help with a potential omicron surge in the winter months.

While there are currently more than 200 provider locations at local drug stores, Roth said the state wanted to streamline that approach by opening the mass vaccination sites again.

"We wanted to make it quick, easy, and convenient for people to find these omicron vaccine doses," Roth said.

13 Investigates asked if there has been a demand from the public to reopen the sites. Roth said there hasn't been, but she believes people prefer the accessibility of the vaccine sites compared to the local providers.

Roth said receiving the omicron shot is just as important as receiving the initial vaccine dose or any of the recommended boosters. She went on to say that vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 infection.

Roth also stressed the importance of getting a flu shot in addition to COVID-19 as the coming months are usual high months for flu cases in our region.

In the last 14 days, El Paso County Public Health has recorded zero COVID-19 deaths and 29 hospitalizations. There have been 1,290 positive cases.

At the height of the pandemic, there were double that amount of cases in a single day.

The two vaccine clinics that opened Friday at the Citadel and Pueblo Mall both open at 8 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are free.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.

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