Syringes sit on a table where vaccines are being administered during a two-day COVID-19 vaccination clinic inside the JBS Greeley Beef plant in Greeley March 5, 2021. The company will not run the plant during the vaccination event scheduled for Friday and Saturday. JBS employees who receive the vaccine at the plant will be given 4 hours of pay and a $100 bonus for receiving the vaccine. (Alex McIntyre/The Greeley Tribune)

Updated Dec. 16, 2021: Following publication, Weld County reversed its decision and will allow the health department to post about COVID on social media.

Weld County’s commissioners will no longer publish information about COVID-19 on social media following pushback on posts made to encourage residents to get vaccinated against the disease. 

Three members of the public approached the board on Nov. 24, reprimanding the commissioners for posts on the Weld County Government Facebook page – a page also used by the Weld County health department – regarding vaccines. 

“I am sick of these Facebook posts that the Weld County Government page is putting on Facebook advertising this vaccine, this gene therapy, to our children,” said Sonia Miller, a Greeley resident. “This is toxic. This is poisonous.” 

Miller went on to say the vaccines were dangerous and causing children to have heart attacks. 

“There is blood on your hands for this, all of you,” she said. “You will not be held harmless by the public.” 

According to medical experts with Johns Hopkins, the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing serious disease or death due to COVID-19. While there have been rare instances of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) in teens and young adults following the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna, most of the cases were mild and cleared up on their own, according to Johns Hopkins.

One particular Facebook post drew ire from Commissioner Lori Saine, who recently announced she’s running for Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District. 

Posted on Nov. 9, the graphic broke down a timeline for when folks should get either the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, or Moderna vaccine if they wanted to be fully vaccinated in time for the holidays. 

The post reads, in part: 

“Getting vaccinated means you can look forward to safer holiday activities and gatherings with at-risk family and friends you may have missed last year.”

Commissioner Scott James said he was the one who approved the Facebook post and that he was wrong to do so. 

“I will ensure a post that involves a COVID vaccine will not get my approval,” James said. 

Weld is a home rule charter county — meaning it does not have an independent board of public health. If commissioners say they will no longer publish information about COVID-19 on the county’s social media platforms and beyond, the same goes for the health department. 

According to the county website, 509 people have died due to the virus. About 46 of those deaths happened last month. 

There are just four ICU beds available between UCHealth Greeley and North Colorado Medical Center, according to the website. There are just eight ICU beds available in hospitals used by Weld residents regionally. 

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Kelly Ragan

The NoCo Optimist Twitter: @kellyraygun

The NoCo Optimist

Email: Twitter: @TheNoCoOptimist