By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Nearly 4,000 Wyomingites have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the first month of it being available in the state.
However, more than 23,000 residents have received at least the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Around 300 of those who have received both doses are in Laramie County, health officials said during a news conference on Monday at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.
These people consisted of frontline workers and veterans, with more than 1,000 more scheduled to receive vaccine doses in the next few weeks in the county.
“Currently we have about 6,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine coming into the county,” Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department director Kathy Emmons said. “But we need to remember: that includes both the first and second doses. That doesn’t mean we have 6,000 doses so 6,000 people can be vaccinated. It makes things a little more challenging.”
Emmons added that another challenge in both Laramie County and the state at large is that besides the limited amount of vaccine doses given to the state, there is also the issue of not having enough healthcare workers to administer the vaccine.
The Laramie County Health Department didn’t intend to begin scheduling elderly people to receive the vaccine until early February, but instead announced Tuesday morning that scheduling could begin now.
Meanwhile, in Natrona County, according to the Casper Star-Tribune, the Natrona County Health Department ran out of doses of the vaccine on Friday afternoon after “an overwhelming response” from elderly residents.
Around 2,250 first doses were given in Natrona County last week.
Wyoming’s Phase 1B vaccination priorities are generally described as including people who are 70 years of age or older and essential frontline workers who must interact with the public and are unable to consistently physically distance from others.
Many counties across the state have moved to the 1B priority group, including Laramie and Natrona counties.
Park County is offering vaccine appointments later this month for groups 1A and 1B. Teton County is offering appointments on a lottery system of sorts, where priority is given to those 75 and older.
A Phase 1C priority list is also expected before Wyoming moves toward Phase 2. Phase 1 overall provides specific vaccination targets in situations where vaccines are in limited supply and are being allocated for specific populations.
People receiving the vaccines will not be asked to pay any fees. The currently authorized vaccines require two doses for maximum protection.