Colorado modifies vaccine priority groups; next phase starts March 5


DENVER — Coloradans over the age of 60, grocery workers, agricultural processing workers, and Coloradans with two or more comorbidities will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine starting March 5, Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday.

The news comes as Polis and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Incident Commander Scott Bookman announced a change to the state’s vaccine priority phases.

Polis said the change was made so people won’t have to wait more than a maximum of four to five weeks to get the vaccine after their phase begins.

The previous Phase 1B.3, which was tentatively set to begin next week, is now divided into two phases: 1B.3, and 1B.4.

Phase 1B.3

The new Phase 1B.3, which starts March 5, includes the following groups:

  • Agricultural processing workers
  • Grocery workers
  • Coloradans ages 60 and older
  • Coloradans ages 16-59 with two or more high-risk conditions (see list below)

The state also provided details about how people in each group can sign up for the vaccine.

  • Agricultural processing workers: Contact your employer to schedule a vaccine. If your employer is not offering vaccines, contact a local vaccine provider.
  • Grocery workers: Schedule a vaccine through your store’s pharmacy. If your store does not have a pharmacy, contact your local public health agency.
  • Coloradans ages 60 and older: Schedule a vaccine through a local provider. Visit or call 1-877-CO-VAX-CO (1-877-268-2926) to find a provider near you.
  • Coloradans ages 16-59 with two or more comorbidities: Schedule a vaccine through a local provider. Visit or call 1-877-CO-VAX-CO (1-877-268-2926) to find a provider near you.

Phase 1B.3 includes people with two or more of the following high-risk conditions:

  • Cancer: currently receiving treatment or treated within the last month
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Down syndrome
  • Specific heart conditions: heart failure, cardiomyopathies or coronary artery disease, or severe valvular/congenital heart disease
  • Obesity: BMI greater than 30 kg/m2
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Individuals with disabilities who require direct care in their home
  • People with disabilities that prevent them from wearing a mask

Phase 1B.3 includes a total of about 958,508 Coloradans, according to the state.

Phase 1B.4

Polis said Phase 1B.4 will likely begin in late March. This phase includes Coloradans over age 50, people with one higher-risk medical condition, and certain types of essential workers.

Specifically, it includes:

  • Frontline essential workers in public transit and specialized transportation
  • Frontline essential workers in public health
  • Frontline essential human service workers
  • Faith leaders
  • Frontline essential direct care providers for Coloradans experiencing homelessness
  • Frontline essential journalists
  • Continuity of state and local government
  • Adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial
  • Student-facing higher education faculty and staff
  • Frontline essential workers in food/restaurant services, manufacturing, and U.S. postal service
  • Coloradans age 50 and up
  • Coloradans ages 16-49 with one higher-risk condition

This large phase includes about 2.5 million people, according to the state.

More details about vaccine distribution for phase 1B.4 will be released in the coming weeks.

General public

The previous Phase 2 has been eliminated, with people in that phase now incorporated into phases 1B.3 and 1B.4. Polis said that after Phase 1B.4 is complete, the state will move into the new Phase 2, which includes everyone over age 16.

Polis said depending on vaccine supply, this general public group may be further segmented by age. However, Phase 2 will not use employment or pre-existing conditions as criteria, according to the governor.

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