Gov. Jared Polis gestures a sign of approval before he signs for delivery for the state’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, early Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in east Denver. The state received 975 frozen vials of the vaccine, which will be distributed immediately. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, pool)
COVID-19 vaccine doses are expected to be available to the general public in about a month, Gov. Jared Polis announced during a Friday news briefing.
“We expect that every Coloradan will be eligible for the vaccine by mid-April,” said Polis, who was joined during the briefing by Brigadier General Scott Sherman of the Colorado National Guard and Scott Bookman, the state’s COVID incident commander.
This timeline comports with President Joe Biden’s directive, issued during a national address Thursday night, that states open vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1.
Polis also announced that the next phase — known as 1B.4 — in the state’s vaccine distribution plan will move up by two days. This means that people 50 and older, many front-line essential workers, and people 16 and older with a high-risk health condition will be eligible for a vaccine starting March 19. The previous eligibility date for this group was March 21.
The current distribution phase is 1B.3, which includes people 60 and older, those with multiple high-risk health conditions, and grocery and agricultural workers.
Phase 1B.4 alone covers more than 2.5 million people, a little less than half the state’s population of 5.8 million. The biggest portion of that group is the 1 million Coloradans age 16 to 49 with a high-risk condition, and there are 719,000 Coloradans in their 50s.
But the state expects to receive a gradually increasing supply of vaccine doses to meet demand. By the end of this week, the state expects to have received 245,090 doses of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and 6,300 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In the week that ends April 4, the state expects to have received 304,200 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and 84,500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In addition to hospital, pharmacy and other local vaccine distribution sites, the state is preparing to open six community vaccination sites.
- Two sites are planned for March 17 openings: the Grand Junction Convention Center in Grand Junction — this is already operated as a county site, but will be boosted with state resources — and the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.
- Three sites are planned for March 22 openings: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, The Ranch Events Center in Loveland, and the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.
- One site is planned to open in early April: the Ball Arena (formerly the Pepsi Center) in Denver.
Polis in recent weeks has expressed optimism about the state largely overcoming the pandemic by the summer, and he repeated that outlook in agreeing with Biden’s message on Thursday that the nation could be “closer to normal by July 4th.”
“We are in for a more or less normal summer,” Polis said.
As of Friday, 6,056 Coloradans had died due to COVID-19. The seven-day average of new cases per day as of March 10 was 855. That’s down from 1,011 a week earlier.
On Sunday, state public health officials announced that the South African variant of the coronavirus, which spreads more easily than other variants and may be more vaccine-resistant, had been detected for the first time in Colorado.
For more information about how to sign up for vaccination, visit cocovidvaccine.org or call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).
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