It’s Tuesday morning, and drivers once again are lined up in an RTD parking garage near Wadsworth and Colfax to receive a COVID vaccination.
Among Stride Community Health staffers, EMTs giving shots and folks waiting their turn, Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D), mixes, listens and learns more about the operation.
Perlmutter can often be found in his district, holding regular community meetings with constituents. This day he was underscoring the point that federal legislation his party pushed through helped make events like the vaccination event possible.
“They’ve (Stride) really got it down to an art,” he says. “They’ve got the van that they were able to buy with funds that we provided with the American Rescue Plan and the CARES Act, and they’ve been able to bring these shots to where the people are.”
Having had the virus himself, Perlmutter has little doubt a vaccination is by far, the better way to go.
“We don’t want to see another surge like we see in Japan right now, which may cancel the Olympics. We don’t want to see a surge like India has had — where it’s just overwhelmed the entire country,” he said.
“Through the American Rescue Plan, there’s a lot of assistance and support for clinics like Stride. There’s a lot of continued research to refine the vaccines to deal with the variants. There’s a lot of support for public health — for making sure the community is healthy— physically and mentally.”
Looking forward, Perlmutter said he thinks the American Rescue Plan anticipates the potential need for booster shots for Americans, and he’s confident science and the administration will be able to answer the call when it happens.
“We know we can do things in a very big way to protect the health of the nation,” he said.
Allison Draayer, Stride’s Director of Community of Care, says demand is tapering off but they’ll be at that same location, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through the end of July, after which they plan to offer vaccinations as long as there is a need.
“We’re just going to go where the community would like us to go,” she said.
Eric Garcia is a union stagehand for live events. He’s anxious to get his vaccination and get back to work. He said getting the shot isn’t a requirement, but thinks it’s best for everybody concerned, to get it.
“I’m looking so forward to (getting) it. Red Rocks events have started, but we’re not at full capacity — we’re trying to get there,” he says.
“I’m going to Jimmy Buffet,” Perlmutter replies.
Once again, he points to the legislation Democrats passed and the money that’s gone to restaurants and shuttered venues, before quickly moving on to say hello to a man who’s just received his shot.
According to Perlmutter’s office, as part of the $1.88 trillion American Rescue Plan, approximately $60 billion was provided for COVID testing and vaccine activities. Specifically, Colorado received $131 million for community health centers to expand vaccine access. In addition, Colorado received $56 million to ramp up mobile distribution, increased sites and extended hours, and expanded capacity to improve vaccine availability, particularly to underserved communities.