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Vaccinations in Denver: Slow-Motion Inequity

Vaccinations in Denver: Slow-Motion Inequity
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During a January 14 press conference, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock expressed frustration over the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccinations, particularly among communities of color and other vulnerable demographics — and new statistics from Denver Public Health underscore his concerns.

The first vaccines arrived in Colorado on December 14, just over a month ago. Phase 1A of the vaccination program, which focuses in part on residents and workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers, is supposed to be nearing completion, while phase 1B, prioritizing those ages seventy and above, is beginning.

A breakdown on DPH's Denver COVID-19 Data Summary page, however, shows that not a single person age seventy and older has been inoculated for the first time in several of Denver's 78 official neighborhoods — and in 53 of them, fewer than fifty people in that age group have gotten their initial shots. Moreover, the neighborhoods with the most vaccinations, including a higher-than-average percentage of people who've also received a second shot, tend to be in affluent areas. The top two are Cherry Creek and Central Park, formerly Stapleton.

It's important to note that the overwhelming majority of residents at the aforementioned nursing homes are seventy and older, and the location of such centers (Cherry Creek is home to several) has a significant impact on the figures, particularly at this early stage. But leaders of major health systems in the Denver area who joined Governor Jared Polis at a January 12 media event stressed that older Coloradans who reside in other settings are being actively contacted and scheduled for vaccination as well.

As a result, Denver Public Health is now tracking what it refers to as the "Cumulative COVID-19 Vaccine Initiation Rate per 1,000 Persons Age 70 and Over by Denver Neighborhood," which translates to the first shot, and "Cumulative COVID-19 Vaccine Completion Rate per 1,000 Persons Age 70 and Over by Denver Neighborhood," for those who've received both injections, and should achieve 95 percent immunity to the novel coronavirus two weeks after the second vaccination. Lowry Field has the highest current completion percentage to date, at 8.5 percent — but that translates to just six people.

Montbello and Gateway-Green Valley Ranch are two of the largest and most diverse neighborhoods in Denver, and both are in the upper end of the stats for initial injections; 81 Montbello residents and 104 of those living in Gateway-Green Valley Ranch have received the first round. But fewer than five in Montbello have had their second shot, and the Gateway-Green Valley Ranch total is stuck at zero.

The situation is even worse in Bear Valley, Chaffee Park, Marston and Sun Valley, where no one seventy or older has gotten even a first injection.

The code name for the federal vaccine development program is Operation Warp Speed — but in Denver, the process of getting the medication into arms is moving at a crawl.

See where your neighborhood falls below; the entries are listed in ascending order by the first vaccination.

Bear Valley
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 0
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Chaffee Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 0
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Marston
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 0
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Sun Valley
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 0
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Auraria
Total Vaccines (First Dose) < 5
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Jefferson Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) < 5
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Kennedy
Total Vaccines (First Dose) < 5
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Lincoln Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) < 5
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Villa Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) < 5
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Overland
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 5
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

DIA
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 5
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Windsor
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 6
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Valverde
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 9
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

West Colfax
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 9
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Clayton
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 10
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Cole
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 13
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

College View-South Platte
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 14
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Elyria Swansea
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 14
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Barnum
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 15
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 3.0

City Park West
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 15
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Regis
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 15
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Skyland
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 15
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Globeville
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 18
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Civic Center
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 21
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Rosedale
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 21
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Whittier
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 21
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Baker
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 22
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Barnum West
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 22
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

East Colfax
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 24
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 1.7

CBD (Central Business District)
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 25
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

North Capitol Hill
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 25
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Goldsmith
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 27
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Fort Logan
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 28
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 0.7

West Highland
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 28
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Highland
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 32
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 0.9

Sloan's Lake
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 32
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

University
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 32
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Harvey Park South
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 33
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

University Hills
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 35
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Westwood
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 37
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Athmar Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 38
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Platt Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 39
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

City Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 40
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Harvey Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 40
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Northeast Park Hill
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 41
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 1.2

Berkeley
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 42
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Southmoor Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 43
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Indian Creek
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 44
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 4.7

Cory-Merrill
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 45
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 2.1

Virginia Village
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 45
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Sunnyside
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 46
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Washington Park West
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 46
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Ruby Hill
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 47
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Capitol Hill
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 49
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 1.1

Mar Lee
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 49
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Five Points
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 52
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Hale
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 56
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 2.6

Montclair
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 68
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 1.6

North Park Hill
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 72
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Cheesman Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 76
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 3.2

Speer
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 78
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Montbello
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 81
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 0.5

Wellshire
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 85
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Country Club
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 94
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 3.9

Congress Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 98
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 2.4

Gateway-Green Valley Ranch
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 104
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 0

Washington Virginia Vale
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 106
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 0.5

Washington Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 125
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 2.0

South Park Hill
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 134
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 1.0

Lowry Field
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 148
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 6
Vaccine Completion Rate 8.5

Union Station
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 153
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 1.7

University Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 160
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 2.0

Hampden
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 169
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 0.3

Hampden South
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 215
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 0.7

Hilltop
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 226
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 2.5

Belcaro
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 249
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 2.4

Central Park
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 258
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) < 5
Vaccine Completion Rate 2.1

Cherry Creek
Total Vaccines (First Dose) 297
Total Vaccines (Second Dose) 6
Vaccine Completion Rate 3.6

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