More than 2,500 Mesa County residents have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Among them is Mesa County Public Health nurse Ashley Adams.
Adams received her final dose of the vaccine on Monday.
“It feels fantastic, to be honest. It’s very exciting,” she said. “The more people that get the vaccine, the more quickly we can get back to normal. The more we get vaccinated, the closer we are to reaching herd immunity. I want to get back to not having to wear masks at some point.”
Adams has been a nurse for 15 years and been with the county for more than five of them. Her role pivoted in the past year from administering routine immunizations for the health department to helping managing the vaccine distribution on a daily basis.
“I worry about how many doses we need the next day and pull them out to thaw. I also manage the volunteer draw,” she said. “I’ve had to become very detail-oriented. There are many intricacies I have to be aware of — like how long the vaccine can be out of the freezer for before being administered.”
She said she’s been helping with the county’s vaccine plan for many months so to finally be at the point of second doses for some is an important milestone for Adams. She was among the first to receive the vaccine, along with frontline health care workers, local law enforcement agencies and others in the community part of Phase 1.
Colorado State Patrol Troop 4A Captain Matt Ozanic said his troop received second shots last week, and those that wanted to get vaccinated were able to do so.
“About 50/50 choose to get it,” he said. “It didn’t really seem like anybody was on the fence about it, they were either eager to get it or not so eager.”
Ozanic said that he’s checked in with everyone who received the vaccine and they aren’t reporting many side effects.
Grand Junction Police Department Chief of Police Doug Shoemaker received his second dose Tuesday.
“Gotta say, my left arm is pretty tender today! I feel good otherwise except for being exceptionally tired,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
Second doses started to be administered in Mesa County in the second week in January, as the health department continues to work down the distribution list with first doses. New additions to phase 1 were added by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis last week with Coloradans ages 65 to 69 and teachers added to the new Phase 1B.2.
Strive, an organization that works with developmentally and intellectually disabled members of the community, was next in line to receive vaccines this week and Senior Vice President Douglas Sorter couldn’t hide the excitement Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s very exciting to be getting the vaccine. It’s an ongoing process and we are working are way through,” he said.
With more than 1,400 developmentally and intellectually disabled children and adults in the Mesa County that Strive supports, Sorter called the vaccine a real “game-changer” for the organization.
He said that Strive was just notified by Mesa County Public Health to come in and get the vaccine last week. He felt getting inoculated will put his organization in a better position to support those who are in group homes.
“We can have more confidence that we are not jeopardizing those folks,” Sorter said.
Mesa County Public Health recommends those who have received both of their doses to continue to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others.
“We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others, even if you don’t get sick yourself,” according to information from the Centers for Disease Control.
For Adams, her parents, both over 65, live in another state and just because she’s vaccinated doesn’t mean she’s planning a trip to see them just yet.
“I don’t want to put my family or coworkers at risk. If I were to visit, I’d still wear a mask around them,” she added.