Estes Park Health

Dear Fellow Staff and Patients of Estes Park Health and All Our Community Members,

As has been said many times, this has been one of the most challenging years. The COVID- 19 pandemic has been only one additional stressor for our community in 2020, but continues to take precedence in our daily lives. We have made a commitment to continue to provide high quality and safe health care for our community and we are proud of the accomplishments we made this past year with ongoing services, increased COVID testing with appropriate turnaround, modifications to our facility for improved safety when caring for COVID patients, and the development of new telehealth services. We are now at an amazing point in history with the development of not just one but two successful vaccinations against COVID-19.

While most of us are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our initial allotment and learning when our place in line for vaccination will come up, there may be some with reservations regarding the safety and efficacy. The impressive accomplishments of the scientists behind these vaccines should not go unnoticed, as well as the thousands of Americans who have been part of the trial studies for both vaccinations. Although it was called “Operation Warp Speed,” there was no rushing the trial process of the vaccinations and the review of safety data by multiple groups. Keep in mind, the FDA and CDC are advised by scientific review boards whose participants are medical and public health experts and are not governmental or elected officials (namely, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee [VRBPAC] and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP]). Both of these review boards wholeheartedly approved the immunizations based on the medical evidence for the safety and the effectiveness of the vaccine.

By believing in the science and trusting both new advances and methods that have been set for years, we encourage you to be willing and ready for vaccination when your time comes. As your medical staff, we encourage all EPH staff members to get the vaccination. We are also making great efforts to be ready to provide vaccination for all members of our community when sufficient allotments are available.

From the beginning of COVID, we as providers and healthcare workers have had to learn and adapt to new recommendations that change on a regular basis. Anticipating the arrival of the vaccine and waiting to hear what we have access to in Estes Park is one last hurdle in the fight. We understand the timeframe for vaccination will take months and there are still certain groups (children under 16) who are not recommended for vaccination at this time. The best we can do is start to develop herd immunity from vaccination to move to a safer community. We will need to continue all the same social distancing, hand washing, and mask recommendations until we have improved control over this virus. The vaccination is one major step in protecting ourselves and our community from severe illness and complications.

If you need further information, here are some trusted sites.

www.ama-assn.org/delivering- care/public-health/open-letter-

american-public-covid-19-

vaccines.

www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19.

covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.

Respectfully, the medical staff of Estes Park Health and our community medical partners:

John Meyer MD, Chief of Staff,

Emergency Medicine

Robyn Zehr DO, Vice Chief of Staff,

Family Practice

Bridget Dunn MD, Vice Chief of

Staff Elect, Family Practice

Aaron Florence DO, Former Chief

of Staff, Orthopedics

Scott Chew MD, Emergency Medicine

Kenneth R. Epstein MD, Hospitalist

Paul Fonken MD, Family Medicine

Joseph Lee MD, Internal Medicine

Martin Koschnitzke MD, CPE,

FACOG, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Amanda Luchsinger MD, Internal

Medicine

Jennifer McLellan MD, Surgery

Nicholaus Mize DO, Internal

Medicine, Palliative Care

Erika Norris MD, Family Medicine

Michael Prochoda MD,

Ophthalmology

Megan Ross MD, Pediatrics

Juli Schneider MD, Internal Medicine

Guy Van der Werf MD, Family

Medicine

Mark Wiesner MD, Pediatrics

Scott Woodard MD, Surgery

Mary Bolgeo CRNA

Jason Goodwin CRNA

Elise Booth FNP

Ingra Marske PA

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