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“The epitome of selfishness”: Jefferson County COVID vaccine workers harassed over Labor Day weekend

Jefferson County Public Health executive director Dawn Comstock said medical staff working at a mobile vaccine clinic in neighboring Gilpin County were yelled at and threatened

Medical assistant Jessica Gaston draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine 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)

A Colorado county’s public health department took its three mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics off the streets after its staff was harassed while providing inoculations over Labor Day weekend, the department’s executive director said.

Jefferson County Public Health executive director Dawn Comstock said medical staff working at a mobile vaccine clinic in neighboring Gilpin County, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Denver, were yelled at and threatened by people passing by, the Denver Post reported.

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“Additional cars drove by screaming obscenities at vaccine staff and throwing garbage at them,” Comstock said. “I will not put the hard-working public health staff in harm’s way.”

Comstock said that a driver ran over and destroyed signs put up around the vaccine clinic’s tent. In a separate incident that day, someone threw an unidentified liquid at a nurse working a different mobile clinic in front of a restaurant.

“It’s the epitome of selfishness and I am angry today,” Comstock said.

Comstock said going forward the department will only set up mobile vaccine clinics in places with security and that the department is looking into funding to hire its own protection.

In response to harassment of health workers during the pandemic, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed a law in May that prohibits posting public health officials’ personal information online to threaten their safety.


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