Can’t see the video? Watch on the governor’s Facebook page.
DENVER — In his semiweekly update Friday, Gov. Jared Polis focused on steps the state is taking to ensure equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution to under-served populations in Colorado.
“Colorado is rapidly and successfully ensuring all doses of the lifesaving vaccine are quickly put into arms – not sitting on shelves. That is why we are in the top tier of states when it comes to administering the vaccine and we continue to call for more to be deployed to our state. Since the state received the very first doses of the vaccine, we have been focused on distributing them in a way that is equitable, saves the most lives, and ends the public health crisis as soon as possible,” said Governor Jared Polis. “ We are making a deliberate effort to meet Coloradans in their communities. No matter where you live, who you are, or what you do – we want to make sure that you can get the vaccine quickly and efficiently when that time comes.”
Like the rest of the country, Colorado is dependent on the federal government for our weekly supply of this life saving and crisis ending vaccine.
Polis said that the state has struggled to reach communities of color, the most rural areas of the state, and poorer Coloradans. In order to address the disparity, Polis announced 10% of the state’s vaccine allocation will go to the Equity Task Force.
Polis says the state will distribute those to community health care centers to get them to poorer and communities of color and will work to distribute the vaccine to rural areas through drive-thru’s.
“It’s clearly unacceptable to have this kind of disparity here in Colorado and that’s why we’re aggressively taking this on. That includes the vaccine resistance we face in communities of color,” Gov. Polis said Friday. “It also includes making sure we’re taking every step we can in community health clinics, to be in underserved communities and stand up clinics through the equity effort to make sure everyone in Colorado, no matter their race, their heritage, where they live, have access to the vaccine.”
The state will also start an ad campaign in English and Spanish to reinforce the importance and effectiveness of the vaccine.
“We want everyone to know the vaccine is free, so income, immigration status, and health insurance should not be barriers. It is important that every adult who can get the vaccine does get vaccinated, so when you get the chance, please take it” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director of CDPHE.
Polis also said the state remains on track to vaccinate 70% of Coloradans over the age of 70 by March 1. He said all of the major healthcare providers have set up online forms and phone hotlines that seniors can fill out or call to schedule a vaccine appointment. A full list of providers, along with their contact information, is available at covid19.colorado.gov.
Colorado has partnered with community organizations to stand up drive-through vaccination clinics in San Luis, Center, Alamosa, Aurora, Denver, and more to make connections with Coloradans who may not otherwise have a place to receive the vaccine. Through events like these we have vaccinated hundreds of Coloradans 70 and older, and the State is looking to hold even more events like these moving forward. These types of venues will help ensure that Coloradans who might not have access to a health care provider will still have access to the vaccine. The State has also taken steps to ensure that the inability to present a photo ID plays no part in whether or not someone can get the vaccine.
“We need to end this crisis that has been brought on by this pandemic. We know this virus will be with us for some time, getting the vaccine into arms can end this crisis,” said Rick Palacio, Strategic Consultant to the Governor.
Joining Polis for the update were Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Rick Palacio, Strategic Consultant to the Governor.