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Colorado Doesn't Take Blame for Vaccination Drawings Confusion

An image from a vaccination event sponsored by the Denver Broncos in April.
An image from a vaccination event sponsored by the Denver Broncos in April.
Denver Broncos via YouTube
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Today, June 2, the first winner will be chosen in Colorado Comeback Cash, a series of weekly drawings that will award $1 million to five people vaccinated against COVID-19. The identity of Recipient Number One is scheduled to be revealed on Friday, June 4.

Despite this incentive, the pace of immunizations hasn't spiked — but frustration over the qualification process has exploded. Everyone who's been inoculated is supposed to be automatically entered in the drawing, but many people aren't showing up on the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) public portal set up by the state to let individuals check their records. And confused explanations of the snafus haven't help assuage that frustration.

For instance, my wife, whose name doesn't appear on the CIIS site, called King Soopers, where she got her doses of the Moderna vaccine, and was told she needed to fill out some paperwork in order to be listed — but when she went to the store to do so, none of the personnel there had the foggiest notion what she was talking about. Shortly thereafter, a pharmacist offered to check my wife's records and was able to confirm that she was in the data bank, even though she couldn't access it — and the pharmacist placed the blame on the state's system.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment isn't taking responsibility, as is clear from the following Q&A with Westword. Instead, the department is essentially portraying the problem as miscommunication and/or user errors, and insists that everything is fine, although the process of proving it is undeniably burdensome. The department also shrugs off the prospect of lawsuits from vaccinated people who should be eligible but can't tell if they are or not.

Here's what the CDPHE had to say:

Westword: Does the department know why so many people aren't showing up on this site?

CDPHE: There are more than 5.6 million COVID-19 vaccine entries in CIIS, and we are confident the database is working as it should. We have ten staff members dedicated to ensuring the data is accurate.

The primary issue is connected to a mismatch between how the provider entered an individual’s information in the database and how individuals are entering it in the portal. All fields for name, date of birth, gender, address, email and/or phone number must match exactly, or the portal will not find the record. If there is a typo in the CIIS entry, the individual still is eligible for the drawing. Anyone having difficulty accessing their information can contact their vaccine provider to determine how the information was entered or contact the CIIS Help Desk.

We want all eligible Coloradans to get vaccinated so they can be entered in the five upcoming drawings. Individuals now scheduling their appointment should pay careful attention to the personal information they submit for their appointment or give to their vaccine provider, and can double check its accuracy before it is submitted. That will minimize issues if they choose to confirm their vaccine records in CIIS.

Is the department working on a solution? Does the department have a timeline for when the records should be fully accessible?

Individuals who entered their information in the portal and cannot confirm their vaccination information should contact their provider to ensure their information was entered accurately and to confirm how it was reported to CIIS. If that’s not possible, they can contact the CIIS Help Desk to verify they are in the system and/or to update their contact information on their CIIS record.

Are there specific groups of people or individuals who seem to have been omitted from the portal, and if so, what are they?

No. Vaccine providers are required to enter vaccinations into the Colorado Immunization Information System, and the vast majority of them report the data within three days.

Who is responsible for entering the information about vaccinations? Is it the hospital, pharmacy or other entity that administered the shots?

The provider who administered the vaccine is required to report the information in CIIS.

Is the department concerned about possible liability if people who should be eligible for the drawings are omitted?

We are confident the CIIS data is accurate and complete. The vast majority of providers report vaccines in the system within three days. Anyone having difficulty accessing their information can contact their vaccine provider to determine how the information was entered or contact the CIIS Help Desk. There are more than 5.6 million COVID-19 vaccine dose entries in CIIS.

Is there anything else on this subject I may not have asked about that you feel is important to add?

We are excited to give Coloradans five opportunities to win $1 million. To be eligible, individuals need to get their vaccinations scheduled as soon as possible.

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