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Parent: Why isn't Colorado prioritizing vaccine for kids with pre-existing conditions?

CDPHE says it has ample supply, no priority needed
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Posted at 6:50 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 21:01:07-04

NEDERLAND, Colo. — It’s a good thing Signe, 6, and her sister, Liv, 4, have a good relationship. Because for nearly two years, they’ve had a pretty short list of playmates.

“At the moment, they can only play with each other,” said their father, Ben Teitelbaum. “We do not want to roll the dice with this.”

Teitelbaum says the pandemic presents a unique challenge for Signe because of her preexisting conditions.

“She has a rare disease called Alagille syndrome,” Teitelbaum said. “For her, it gave her liver disease and her arteries going from her heart to her lungs are narrowed.”

The concern with Signe possibly contracting COVID is the risk of blood clots.

“If she gets blood clots and they start moving around in these compromised portals, we could find ourselves in a really bad situation,” Teitelbaum said.

So, they’ve waited, patiently for the vaccine to be approved for kids.

“Absolutely we want to get back to living,” Teitelbaum said. “Mainly for the kids in terms of school. My daughter needs the socialization of being at school. Her siblings need the socialization of being at school.”

But now, there’s a new hiccup for families like the Teitelbaums.

“There’s no consideration, no affordance to kids with pre-existing conditions,” Teitelbaum said.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is not prioritizing kids with pre-existing conditions like it did with adults, so Teitelbaum has been frantic.

“20-30 phone calls, sending e-mails to everybody I possibly could, following up on leads, sitting online and waiting for people,” Teitelbaum said. “The initial appointments that the department of public health had put up, those were booked until November 26.”

The CDPHE tells Denver7 it’s not prioritizing sick or immunocompromised kids for the vaccine - saying in a statement, “We are thrilled so many parents already are making appointments to get their children ages 5-11 vaccinated. The initial rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021 included prioritization phases because there was not enough vaccine supply to accommodate all individuals at once. We do not have the same kind of inventory constraints for 5-11 rollout.”

But clearly, as Teitelbaum can attest – the state does have vaccine appointment constraints.

“And for kids who have really serious underlying conditions, a day could make a difference,” Teitelbaum said.

He finally managed to score an appointment for his daughter to be vaccinated this coming Friday in Frisco, two hours from their home.

“I wish that the department of public health could have done just a little bit. Even a single day. If they had just given us one day – it would have helped a lot of families who don’t have the resources to go chasing opportunities all over the entire state.”