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Moderna Covid-19 vaccine vials are seen during a vaccination clinic for residents of zip code 80010 and existing refugee patients at Ardas Family Medicine in The Mango House in Aurora, Colorado on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Eli Imadali, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Health care providers across Colorado are postponing thousands of vaccine appointments ahead of a heavy snowstorm that’s expected to bury much of the state.

Snowfall is forecast to start as early as Friday for western parts of Colorado and continue into Monday morning for the Front Range and Eastern Plains. 

Forecasters say the high country will receive multiple feet of snow, with the stretch of the Continental Divide north of Interstate 70 being hardest hit. The Denver area is forecast to receive 14 to 24 inches of snow, with higher amounts in the foothills. 

The National Weather Service in Boulder is warning of snow accumulations up to 30 inches near Boulder and Fort Collins, and wind gusts as high as 35 miles per hour.

Some of the health systems rescheduling appointments include:

  • UCHealth, which is closing vaccine clinics scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, where roughly 2,500 vaccine doses were set to be distributed. Patients will be contacted individually to reschedule their appointments.
  • Centura Health, which has postponed an unspecified number of vaccine appointments scheduled for Saturday and Sunday to the same times on Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19. The health care provider has also rescheduled an appointment-only mass vaccination clinic at Broadmoor World Arena on Saturday. It will now be held on Tuesday, March 16.
  • Kaiser Permanente, which has opted to reschedule roughly 10,000 appointments on Saturday and Sunday for the same times the following weekend. Roughly 15 clinics in total will be affected, though medical offices will still be open for general business.
  • SCL Health, which is postponing the vaccine appointments that were slated for Saturday and Sunday. Patients will hear from their provider directly and reschedule their appointments individually.

Those who are uncertain about whether their vaccination appointment is still going ahead as planned should contact their provider directly. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the second dose for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine can be given up to six weeks after the first dose. Typically, doses are given a month and three weeks apart, respectively.

Some coronavirus testing sites will also be closed during the storm.

Gov. Jared Polis and state transportation officials, speaking at a news conference Thursday, implored Coloradans to stay home if possible during the storm. 

People who must drive somewhere should be well-prepared, including with snow tires, plenty of water, a charged phone and a full tank of gas. Power outages could hit the most severe storm areas, so even those planning on staying home should also be prepared.

“Use your common sense,” Polis said. “It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.”

Incoming shipments of vaccines should not be affected like they were from last month’s cold snap, Polis said, as this storm is localized to Colorado instead of slamming multiple states at once.

Lucy Haggard was a TRENDS Reporting Fellow from August 2020 to May 2021 with The Colorado Sun. Email: Twitter: @lucy_haggard