Months before its arrival, Colorado tries to answer the question: Who should get the coronavirus vaccine first? | CraigDailyPress.com
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Months before its arrival, Colorado tries to answer the question: Who should get the coronavirus vaccine first?

The priority system will depend on a number of factors that doctors and scholars can’t yet assess

John Ingold / Colorado Sun
Dennis Pierro, Director, BioMARC, at their manufacturing facility on Colorado State University's foothills campus. October 9, 2014
Provided by Colorado State University

Imagine for a moment a headline from the perhaps not-too-distant future: The United States announced an approved vaccine targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that spike-protein-studded bastard that causes COVID-19.

Great news, right?

Now, imagine the headline the next day: For the foreseeable future, there won’t be enough doses of the vaccine for everyone to get it. Some will be vaccinated right away. Some will have to wait months, maybe even longer, as the pandemic slowly churns on.

So, who should be first in line?

As experts across the country focus their attention on the question, Colorado has ramped up its own effort to create an ethical and logistical framework to distribute the vaccine. The goal is for the process to be rational, fair, transparent and equitable. But, with so many unknowns surrounding the virus, research and vaccine politics still in play, that’s a lot harder than it sounds.

“It is super-complex to think about how to do this,” said Dr. Anuj Mehta, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at National Jewish Health and Denver Health who is helping to lead some of the discussions. “…Doing all our due diligence now makes us far more likely to implement a plan when a vaccine becomes available with little delay.”

Mehta is part of a working group at the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee, a collection of mostly outside medical and health experts who give advice to Gov. Jared Polis on how to respond to the pandemic. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also has teams of employees working in parallel on vaccine roll-out plans.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.


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