DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis held a press conference Wednesday to update Coloradans on the state’s coronavirus response.
“We are working hard to accelerate our vaccine administration. Every week, Colorado is exhausting our federal vaccine supply and getting as many shots into arms as we have. Right now, the main limiting factor that is preventing Colorado from vaccinating more people is a lack of vaccines from the federal government. Today, I joined a call between the National Governors Association and members of the Biden administration, and the Biden administration indicated that supplies would increase 16% next week and remain stable at that level for two additional weeks. Colorado is ready and able to get the vaccine distributed across our beautiful state,” said Governor Polis. “The virus will continue to be with us so we can’t let up and we must continue to do what we know works – take precaution around everyone, continue to practice physical distancing, avoid gatherings, and wear masks in public.”
Tuesday Governor Jared Polis acknowledged that our country has reached a grim milestone. Nationwide more than 400,000 people have died from the Coronavirus in the last year.
Can’t see the video? Watch on the governor’s Facebook page.
Though vaccine distribution is in the works, Polis said the pandemic is not over yet and one out of 100 Coloradans are now contagious with the virus.
Polis said his goal remains to protect 70-percent of every Coloradan over 70 years old by February, although there are challenges that come with it.
“I know there’s a lot of frustration from people over 70 who want the vaccine right away. I’m right there with you. We are using every vaccine that we get in our state every week, no doses sitting on shelves. we are constrained by the amount of doses we get from the federal government each week. We will use every dose,” said Gov. Polis. “That means it will take until the end of February with current supply levels, everyone who wants it over age 70 vaccinated, were hoping supplies increase and if they do, it will happen faster.”
The state of Colorado has been among the top 10 of states in the U.S. in terms of vaccines administered, Polis said. He reminded Coloradans that the vaccine is free and if an individual is asked to provide financial information it is a scam.
85% of Phase 1A has received one dose of the vaccine and 73% of that group has received both doses. 97% of skilled nursing facilities have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The Polis administration remains focused on vaccinating 70% of Coloradans 70 and older by the end of February. This age group represents more than 3/4 of the deaths in Colorado, and vaccinating them quickly will help save lives.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy provided an update on the state’s modeling. 1 in 115 Coloradans is contagious with COVID-19.
“Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalization rates are much lower overall in comparison to the rest of the U.S. If we can maintain our current level of transmission control, that is the best way to limit the impact of COVID and prevent hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist at CDPHE.
Governor Polis discussed UC Health’s successful mass vaccination clinic at Coors Field this past weekend. UCHealth vaccinated 1,000 Coloradans ages 70 and up. Those interested in getting a vaccine at Coors Field through UC Health must sign up in advance, as walk-ups are not allowed. Coloradans do not have to be a member of UCHealth to get the vaccine. For more information, please visit www.uchealth.org/covidvaccine to sign up.
Last week, Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order ensuring that the vaccine is free for Coloradans, and insurance status will not be used to deny or deprioritize any patient from getting the vaccine.
Governor Polis discussed a letter sent to Colorado’s health care providers and local public health agencies. Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that had been designated as second doses should now be used as first doses for Coloradans ages 70 and up during the week of January 18 through 25.
Colorado will backfill additional second doses as needed so, health care providers should retain only enough second doses that are required for the current week, according to the Governor’s office.