Coloradans over 70, some essential workers included in next phase of vaccine distribution

Coronavirus

DENVER — Coloradans ages 70 and older and some essential workers will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine within weeks, Gov. Jared Polis said Wednesday.

Polis announced some modifications to the state’s previously-announced vaccine distribution plan. Here’s a look at the latest timeline:

Colorado's coronavirus vaccine distribution plan as of December 30. CDPHE updated this graphic Wednesday evening to indicate  Phase 2 includes people ages 60-69. A previous version of the graphic gave an incorrect age range.
Colorado’s coronavirus vaccine distribution plan as of December 30. CDPHE updated this graphic Wednesday evening to indicate Phase 2 includes people ages 60-69. A previous version of the graphic gave an incorrect age range.

Phase 1B, which previously included only moderate-risk healthcare workers and first responders, has been expanded to include:

  • Healthcare workers with less direct contact with COVID-19 patients (for example: home health, hospice, pharmacy, dental) and EMS.
  • Firefighters, police, COVID-19 response personnel, correctional workers, and funeral services.
  • People ages 70 and older.
  • Frontline essential workers in education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, U.S. postal service, public transit, specialized transportation, grocery, public health, journalism, and direct care providers for Coloradans experiencing homelessness.
  • Essential officials from executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government.

Polis said parts of Colorado have already entered Phase 1B, and most of the state is expected to do so within the coming days.

A complete list of areas moving to 1B was not immediately available. Summit County posted on Facebook Wednesday morning that it is now scheduling appointments for people ages 75 and older to get the vaccine. By noon Wednesday, all of the available appointments were filled, according to the county website.

Polis estimated it will take four to five weeks to give the first dose of the vaccine to everyone over age 70 who wants it.

Polis said so far, more than 84,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered statewide. That puts Colorado in the top five states in terms of vaccines administered per capita, according to the governor.

Polis said the state added people over 70 to the next phase of distribution because a large majority–78 percent–of COVID-19 deaths in Colorado have been among that age group.

The next phase of distribution, Phase 2, is expected to begin in the spring, according to the latest estimates. It includes people ages 60-69, people ages 16 and up who have pre-existing conditions, other essential workers, people necessary for continuity of local government, and people who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine trial. (The state previously provided an incorrect age range for Phase 2, but updated that information Wednesday evening.)

Phase 3, which is slated to begin in the summer, includes all other Coloradans ages 16 and up.

Polis said these plans all depend on a steady supply of vaccine being distributed to Colorado from the federal government.

Also in Wednesday’s update, state health officials gave more details about the new coronavirus variant recently detected in Elbert County. The variant was confirmed in a Colorado National Guard member who was deployed to a nursing home in Simla to respond to an outbreak there. Another National Guard member deployed to the same nursing home is suspected to have the variant, but that has not yet been confirmed.

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