The State of Colorado Says Aurora Clinic Is Creating New COVID Vaccine Boundaries For Underserved Individuals – CBS Denver
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A clinic for underserved Coloradans was ordered to change its COVID-19 vaccine distribution schedule after the state found its policies were not inclusive. Mango House only offered vaccinations to refugees and people living in ZIP code 80010, one of the poorest areas in the Denver metropolitan area.
According to the state, vaccinating an area only goes against the governor’s goal of removing obstacles.
CONTINUE READING: COVID vaccine signs become the sticking point between Aurora Clinic and the city
When Mango House first started distributing the vaccine, the clinic offered it to anyone eligible under state guidelines. It didn’t take long for the waiting room to be filled with unfamiliar faces from the suburbs.
“My usual population of refugees and asylum-seekers was suddenly like, ‘Where’s my safe space?'” Said Dr. PJ Parmar, founder of the Mango House. “It is very important to have this safe space for our refugees and our low-income people when there is suspicion about the vaccine. If they walk in and see a completely different population, they can determine that it is a higher income population. This will change their acceptance of the vaccine and their acceptance by us as providers. “
In a statement to CBS4, Shelby Wieman, acting secretary of the state of Colorado wrote:
“We welcome the commitment to ensure that underserved Coloradans have access to the vaccine. We have made it clear to all providers that while it is not possible to address certain postcodes or city districts in order to reach underserved communities, it is not permissible to exclude others. “
The groups cared for in Mango House are often disproportionately affected by COVID-19. To improve access, Parmar offers vaccines six days a week without the need for an appointment. Even the possibility of making an appointment is difficult for many.
“Wealthy people have phones that work. You can sit on hold and call place by place. You have the time when you don’t have to go to work. You have internet. They have cars, ”Parmar explained. “The state tries to ensure that all people are served equally, which is a big goal, but there is a step beyond that and that is what we call justice. Here you are helping someone who has the short end of the stick. “
In addition to the exclusion policy, the state says there is also an issue with the Mango House advertisement requiring patients to provide identification to prove they live in 80010 zip code.
“As the governor has made very clear, no vendor is allowed to require identification or proof of residence in order to obtain a vaccine. Identification and proof of residence are barriers to accessing many Coloradans and disproportionately affect those in our immigrant communities and Coloradans without a home, ”Wieman wrote.
Parmar says proof of ID is to make sure people in the neighborhood are prioritized, but it wasn’t required.
“Of course we don’t ask for it. We do recordings for undocumented people and we do recordings for the homeless. The idea is to keep out people who are from the richer areas, ”Parmar said. “They’re basically saying that I can’t focus on the underserved community. I have to focus on all of them equally. Anyone who does underserved medicine knows that this is basically a death sentence. “
Anyone from any zip code can schedule a vaccine appointment at Mango House. However, Parmar says that some will wait longer than others.
“If you are from 80010, or a refugee or asylum, you can come today without an appointment,” said Parmar.
Parmar says his only fear is losing the ability to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. This condition says this is a possibility if he does not follow their instructions on how to access it.