According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), vaccine doses of the COVID-19 vaccine purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost (www.cdc.gov, December 2020).
Several friends of mine (70 years of age and older and Eagle County residents) received the COVID-19 vaccine at Valley View Hospital during the last week of December 2020. On Jan. 4, 2021, I called VVH to schedule a vaccine appointment.
The Valley View Hospital staff member I spoke with asked if I was 70 or older (yes), and did I live in Garfield County (no). I was told I was ineligible because the vaccine was available only to Garfield County residents 70 years or older.
The vision statement on Valley View Hospital’s website states a goal — “To be the region’s health care leader.” If this is so, why is VVH limiting a benefit paid for by federal funds to only select residents in the county in which the hospital is located?
Valley View Hospital has never denied me or my family medical services for surgeries, mammograms, or any other hospital provided service based on our “out of [Garfield] county residence.” Yet now I find myself excluded by VVH from receiving a vaccination that has been nationally funded by taxpayers, like myself.
Something is fundamentally wrong when any hospital or provider who receives a publicly funded benefit and then enacts specific discriminatory exclusions to deny and subvert that benefit to those people it purports to serve.