DENVER (KDVR) — With two promising vaccines for COVID-19 being tested, the question is turning to who will get access to them first.
In October, the state of Colorado submitted a plan for implementation across the state.
The first group to get the vaccine would be inpatient and outpatient health care workers, including those at assisted living and nursing facilities.
That would be followed by emergency responders, including firefighters, police officers, EMS and correctional workers.
The third group to receive the vaccine would be those the state deems “highest risk individuals,” including residents of assisted living centers, long-term care facilities and nursing facilities.
The fourth group to receive the vaccine would include incarcerated people as well as essential workers, like grocery store workers and teachers.
Next would be adults 65 or older and those with severe illnesses. The general public would be the final group to receive the vaccine.
“To prioritize the criminals ahead of the law-abiding? I don’t get it,” says 18th District Judicial Attorney George Brauchler.
Brauchler has been pushing for the state to reexamine the priority list, saying incarcerated individuals, teachers and college students should be below older adults.
“They have prioritized rapists, murderers and child molesters over my 78-year-old law-abiding father,” he says.
Data shows correctional centers have been hotbeds for COVID-19 outbreaks.
Half of the state’s 10 largest outbreaks have occurred in correctional facilities, including an outbreak at the El Paso County Jail, where 859 inmates and 66 deputies tested positive.
Brauchler says those individuals don’t have contact with the community and should be moved farther down the list.
“People can have respiratory diseases, and they’re below murderers,” says Brauchler. “People who are immunocompromised are below rapists, and robbers and child molesters. None of that makes any sense.”
Gov. Jared Polis believes the state will likely be able to obtain between 100,000 – 200,000 doses initially.
Here’s the state’s estimated breakdown for how many vaccines would be needed for each group:
- Critical Workforce (Health care workers): 182,884
- Critical Workforce (EMS, Police, Firefighters, etc.): 101,708
- Highest Risk Individuals (Assisted Living / Nursing home residents): 46,941
- Congregate Housing / Essential Workers: 669,063
- Higher Risk Individuals (Adults 65+, adults with obesity, diabetes, etc.): 2,343,851
- General Public (Adults 18-64 without high-risk conditions): 1,937,711