COVID-19 Vaccine in the Emergency Department

With cases of COVID-19 on the rise again, there is an urgency to convince anyone that's unvaccinated to get the vaccine. We talked with CU Medicine physician Dr. Kelly Bookman about efforts to vaccinate those that visit the emergency department.

CU Medicine emergency medicine physician Dr. Kelly Bookman has seen the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic first hand, “We as healthcare workers have seen people get really, really sick and die.”

With cases on the rise again, due to highly contagious variants of the coronavirus, such as the Delta variant, healthcare providers and experts are encouraging anyone that hasn’t, to get the COVID-19 vaccine, “The patients that are coming in that are very sick, and getting admitted to the hospital, are not patients that have been vaccinated,” Bookman added.

August is Immunization Awareness Month and the vaccine that has gotten the most attention over the last several months is the COVID-19 vaccine. The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered in December of 2020 and currently, nearly half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. In Colorado, our vaccine rate is slightly higher with nearly 54% fully vaccinated.

The goal now is to get the other half of the population vaccinated. Healthcare providers are trying different tactics to convince those who are hesitant to get the vaccine, to get it, and provide it to as many people as they can.

In early June the emergency department at University of Colorado Hospital started offering the COVID-19 vaccine to patients and their visitors, “When a patient arrives in the emergency department, and we don’t have a record of them being vaccinated, it notifies the provider to go ahead and ask a patient if they’re interested in getting the vaccine during their visit,” explained Bookman, “There’s an opportunity here for patients who may or may not have access to care in other ways,” she added.

At this point, it seems that those who want to get vaccinated have, so Bookman says only about one in 10 patients take them up on their offer in the emergency department, but she still calls that a win, “We feel that it’s a success because any vaccination in any arm helps us get towards our goal of most of the population being vaccinated.”

The ED is providing the Johnson and Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to patients 18 and older, along with any family members or visitors that accompany them, for free. The single dose vaccine is more realistic for the emergency department as there’s no worry about getting patients back for a second dose. You can’t just walk into the ED and get the vaccine but there are plenty of other places to get vaccinated as well

Bookman says she hears a lot of reasons why someone doesn’t want to be vaccinated but she believes it’s important and hopes to vaccinate as many people as they can, “We are here for you, we think it’s important. COVID can harm either you or the people you are in contact with and the vaccine is really helping to save lives. The more people we get vaccinated, the better we’ll be in terms of emerging from the pandemic and getting back to a more normal life.”

Click/tap here to get the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine and learn where you can get vaccinated.

TAGS: Aurora, Colorado, coronavirus, COVID19, COVID-19, COVID-19 FAQs, COVID19 Vaccine, COVID-19 Vaccine, pandemic


This post was originally posted on July 26, 2021