Gov. Polis, health leaders give update on Colorado vaccine rollout

Coronavirus

DENVER — In an update Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis and leaders of the state’s largest healthcare systems provided a detailed breakdown of the number of vaccines being administered to Coloradans over the age of 70.

Leaders from Centura Health, UCHealth, and Salud Family Health Centers joined Polis for the update.

Polis said right now, about half of vaccines are being distributed through hospitals, such as the UCHealth and Centura systems. About 20% are being distributed through community health clinics, like Salud. About 20% are being distributed through community partners, like the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.

The remaining 10% are being distributed by pharmacies, mostly to the nursing homes and long-term care facilities covered by a federal contract.

Polis addressed new CDC guidance that recommends opening vaccine distribution to people ages 65 and older.

Polis said the state hopes to roll the vaccine out to people between the ages of 65 and 70 in the next few weeks, but no exact date is available yet. People between the ages of 60 and 70 are currently included in Phase 2 of the state’s distribution plan, which is expected to begin sometime this spring.

Polis again said it will likely take until March to get a vaccine to everyone over the age of 70 who wants one. He said there are about 530,000 people in that age group in Colorado. Right now, the state is receiving about 70,000 vaccines a week from the federal government, including the shots allocated to long-term care facilities.

Polis said the state is prepared to scale up vaccine distribution as more doses become available, but right now, they are limited by supply.

The Centura and UCHealth leaders said they continue to contact current patients and those who already have an account with their healthcare system.

Centura alone said more than 275,000 people over the age of 70 already have an active MyCentura account–which is about half of the state’s population in that age group.

Polis once again encouraged people ages 70+ who don’t already have a healthcare provider to sign up through a local provider. The state has compiled a list of major providers, along with signup links, at covid19.colorado.gov.

The major providers in southern Colorado are UCHealth, Centura Health, and Kaiser Permanente. As of Tuesday afternoon, both UCHealth and Kaiser Permanente are accepting signups from everyone over 70, whether they are a current patient or not.

Some counties, such as Pueblo and Fremont, are also giving residents the opportunity to sign up for a vaccine. Visit your county health department’s website for details.

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