Walk-in immunization clinics will phased out in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Walk-in immunization clinics will phased out in Eagle County

Chris Outcalt
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Eagle County, Colorado residents may have to do a little more planning this summer in order to get an immunization from the county.

Officials will phase out walk-in immunization clinics offered now and switching to appointments in order to handle increased demand for vaccinations.

The number of immunizations the county is giving has increased 300 percent in the last three years, said Jill Hunsaker, the county’s public health manager.

“With a walk-in clinic, people were having to wait too long and we were having to turn people away,” Hunsaker said. “It wasn’t good customer service.”

The new appointment system won’t take effect for another two months. Officials decided to wait to make the switch in order to make sure people knew it was coming.

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“Our goal is to provide the highest quality service possible and make sure that everyone that needs service is able to get it,” said Anne Robinson, public health nurse manager for the county.

There are clinics in Avon, Eagle and El Jebel where residents can get vaccinations. Each location has two different two-hour sessions when people can show up and get immunized.

But as thousands more people started showing up at the county’s clinics, scheduling appointments ahead of time started to make more sense, officials said.

In 2005, the clinics had more than 2,000 clients. That number grew to more than 8,000 last year.

“During flu season we could see 200 people in an afternoon; you can’t squeeze 200 people into a two-hour time period,” Hunsaker said. “Everyone will get their individual time and attention and not feel so rushed.”

Hunsaker attributes some of the increase in demand to the lack of places in the valley that provide all the vaccinations the county does.

“Public health nurses specialize in immunizations,” she said. “It takes frequent training to keep up on the process, there’s a lot of doctors offices that don’t keep up.”

The fee the county charges for the vaccines will go up around the same time officials stop the walk-in clinics. It will cost $10 instead of $5 for a vaccine for people 18 and under. Anyone over 18 will have to pay the cost of the vaccine and the $10 fee. Prices of vaccines range from $4 to $155.

Officials looked at changing the fee because surrounding counties were all charging between $10 and $14.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

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