The first in Denver’s series of planned community-based COVID-19 vaccination sites opened Thursday at the Montbello Recreation Center.
This testing site, run by Denver Health and Hospital Authority, is expected to help close the gap in vaccine distribution for communities without access to pop-up distributions or pharmacy locations.
“Our goal is to create greater predictability and access with community-based sites that are more permanent,” said Mayor Michael Hancock. “And to support equity, we are focusing our sites in communities that have been disparately impacted by the virus.”
This is the first of at least four community-based vaccination sites planned to open throughout the city. Hancock said the next three sites will be located in northeast, west and southwest Denver.
The sites will be open for at least six months with stable hours, operating out of recreation centers or community locations without adequate access to health care infrastructure.
Officials said these vaccination sites are meant to improve access for those more likely to die from COVID-19, including older adults, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees and racial and ethnic minority groups.
“The reliability of a fixed vaccination site in Montbello directly addresses race and equity concerns in a proactive manner,” said City Council President Stacie Gilmore. “This is a vital next step to protect our most impacted and vulnerable community members.”
This is part two of Denver’s three-pronged distribution strategy: Support vaccination access at healthcare facilities, establish place-based, stable community vaccination sites and use mobile vaccination to bridge remaining equity gaps.
The future Denver Mobile Vaccination team from part three intends to provide vaccines on-site to groups and individuals with barriers to health care access. The team will target at-risk groups, similar to the community-based sites.
All community vaccination sites will require pre-registration, made through each site’s community partner organizations in charge of outreach and registration.
Residents are asked not to visit sites without pre-registering unless they do not have access to the technology needed to pre-register.
For vaccine-eligible residents who live outside of the targeted communities for these sites, information on where and how to receive the vaccine is available on the city’s website.