A community vaccine site in Pueblo that has administered COVID-19 vaccines for nearly two years is set to close this weekend.
The drive-thru site is located near the Pueblo Mall and has provided access to COVID-19 vaccines since January 2021. Puebloans can still receive vaccines at the site until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3.
The site also offers COVID-19 testing, which will continue through December.
The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment announced it would cease offering COVID-19 vaccines at the site last month, citing a return to “normal operations.”
“Seeing the amount of people getting their vaccines — that number has declined compared to winter and spring of 2021,” said Sara Joseph, public information officer for PDPHE. “We’re seeing that more people are using their medical providers to get the vaccine, which wasn’t an option in January 2021.”
The site administered 4,479 COVID-19 vaccines between Sept. 9 and Nov. 9 this year, according to data provided by the Colorado State Joint Information Center. Of those 4,479 doses, 4,400 were the new omicron vaccine.
Last winter, between Nov. 26, 2021 and March 31, 2022, 6,784 doses were provided.
The site is led by contractor Nomi Health, which runs several community vaccine sites across the state. A separate contractor runs testing at the site and administered 3,821 tests between Sept. 6 and Nov. 28 this year.
The department, in its release announcing the closure, said one of its goals with the shift is to have Puebloans seek vaccinations from their medical providers. If someone doesn’t have a primary care physician, they can still set up an appointment at a local pharmacy that provides the vaccine, Joseph said.
"Output at this (Pueblo) site has subsided significantly down to an average of 27 vaccine doses per day," the joint information center told the Chieftain in an email. "With other locations available in the area for the free, life-saving vaccine, the timing of closing this site is appropriate."
Pueblo County has a list of providers, clinics and pharmacies where COVID-19 vaccines and testing locations remain available. The county will update the list by the end of the week to confirm which sites are still providing the vaccine, as well as the specific types of vaccines and the age groups they’re providing it to, Joseph said.
The county also has a community vaccine calendar that lists times and dates when people can receive a vaccine. The scheduled stops of the state’s mobile vaccine bus, which will continue offering COVID-19 vaccines in Pueblo County and the surrounding region, are included on that calendar.
The community site in Pueblo was the first in the state to administer drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations, Joseph said. Once the state’s vaccine supply increased, the state opened 10 large community vaccination sites to supplement providers and meet the demand for the new omicron vaccine.
Pueblo was tabbed for a site in the southeast region of the state.
“It was highly successful,” Joseph said of the drive-thru site. “We provided a lot of vaccines through that site during its time to multiple age groups.”
Completed vaccinations in Pueblo County was 60.3% as of Nov. 28, according to data from the Colorado Immunization Information System. Vaccinations are considered "completed" after two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or one dose of the Janssen vaccine.
"Vaccines are the safest, most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants and to help avoid the worst outcomes such as severe illness, hospitalization and death among those who do become infected," the information center wrote in an email.
It added people aged six months or older can get vaccinated against COVID-19, and people 5 years or older can get an omicron dose, including people who already received booster doses.
Pueblo County’s seven-day positivity rate was 12% as of Nov. 27, a drop from 20% on Nov. 18 but still a spike from the 5% to 7% positivity rate the county saw throughout September, according to electronic laboratory reports.
Editor's note: This story was updated to include the number of vaccinations and tests administered at the community vaccination site during different times it was open to the public.
For more information on vaccine availability in Pueblo, visit pueblohealth.org/vaccine.
Chieftain reporter Josue Perez can be reached at JHPerez@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @josuepwrites.
This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Pueblo COVID-19 vaccination site set to close on Saturday