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Unvaccinated Denver woman turned away from getting the COVID-19 shot after records error

State corrected error after Denver7 reached out
Denver Health
Posted at 5:36 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-24 22:30:39-04

DENVER — It stands to reason most people remember if they've been vaccinated for COVID-19 this year.

"I should know if I've had the COVID shot or not," said Georgia Lemos, who had not received the vaccine. "After my neighbor died from COVID, I thought last week -- I better get my shot."

But try telling that to the system.

"I felt like they wasn't even acknowledging me as a human being," she said.

Last week, Lemos went to Denver Health wanting the vaccine, but when she went to check in, she was told she could not receive the shot.

"They said they could not give me the COVID shot because I had already had my COVID shot in Durango, Colorado," said Lemos, who said there was obviously a mistake. "I've never been to Durango, Colorado in my life."

Even after she asked them to confirm the information, she said, the people handling it did not believe her.

"In such a sarcastic tone of voice, one of the women that was there at the front desk said, 'What? You can't remember getting your COVID shot?' And I said, 'No, I can't remember because there's nothing to remember,'" said Lemos. "I'm telling you, I have never had the COVID shot. Why would I drive all the way to Durango, Colorado when I lived directly across the street from King Soopers?'"

Lemos said she spent the next day calling people to try to correct the mistake, but got nowhere as days passed.

"I even called 311 and the state," she said. "But almost every person is treating me identical to the last person that I just hung up with, like I just didn't matter. They gave me no information about what to do."

So she reached out to Contact Denver7, and we reached out to Denver Health. A Denver Health spokeswoman said their hands are tied by state records. Meanwhile, a spokesman with the Colorado State Joint Information Center sent this response to our inquiry:

"Our Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) team was able to correct this error…She should now be able to walk in and receive a vaccine at any provider."

A spokesman explained this was a rare occurrence: two patients with the same last name, date of birth, gender, and first name in CIIS.

"In this specific instance, because all these fields matched, the system assumed these two profiles were the same person. We are so thankful that you reached out to us about this specific situation. We have spoken with Georgia and assured her that her record is now accurate."

Anyone who is having trouble with their CIIS record can contact CDPHE at 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).

This hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and multiple languages are available.

After the record was cleared, Denver Health offered to vaccinate Lemos. King Soopers also sent a Pfizer vaccine just for Lemos to the store across the street from her home in Denver, and she received her first dose Tuesday afternoon.

"After you started calling, the ball started rolling, and I'd like to thank you for believing me," said Lemos. "I did my part. You did the impossible. I'm so relieved."

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