Polis: Vaccines are the path back to the Colorado we know and love | CraigDailyPress.com

Polis: Vaccines are the path back to the Colorado we know and love

Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters at a news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020
Jesse Paul / The Colorado Sun

Here in Colorado, safe and highly effective vaccines are making their way into communities across our state, and with every dose administered, we take one step closer to that light at the end of the tunnel. Over the last year, Coloradans have faced unthinkable challenges and felt the significant health and economic impacts caused by this pandemic. But thanks to the triumph of modern science, as we move forward, we can begin getting back to the Colorado we all know and love.

Today, Colorado is one of the top states in the country when it comes to successfully administering the vaccine. We are consistently exhausting our weekly supplies and no dose is going to waste. This process has not been perfect, but it’s not about perfection — it’s about getting it out and saving lives.

Currently, we are laser-focused on vaccinating Coloradans 70 and older. This group accounts for more than 75% of our COVID-related deaths, and nearly 40% of hospitalizations. It’s why we set the goal to vaccinate at least 70% of this population by February 28.

As of February 1, we have vaccinated 220,963 Coloradans 70 and older, which is 56% of our goal. By February 7, we anticipate having vaccinated 301,763 Coloradans 70 and older, and by February 28 we expect to have inoculated at least 418,000 people 70 and older, achieving our goal.

Not only do we have a clear path to achieving our goal, but we now have assurances that we will receive enough doses over the next few weeks to begin vaccinating even more Coloradans.

Last week, I announced that beginning on February 8, all Coloradans 65-69 years old, preschool through 12th grade educators, and child care workers in licensed programs will be eligible to receive the vaccine. This group is now known as 1B2, and we have set the goal of vaccinating most of them by March 5. And beginning in early March, as we better understand the number of vaccines we will be receiving in Colorado, we look forward to further expanding who can get it to include many others.

This is a big next step for Colorado, but we wouldn’t be taking it if I didn’t believe we were ready. So how can we make this happen?

Over the next month, we anticipate that Colorado will receive between 80,000 and 90,000 vaccines each week. These numbers are based on conservative estimates of our weekly vaccine allocations and are dependent on the supply chain. We have factored in the 16% increase in doses that the Biden administration has already announced, but we do not take into account the potential approval of any new vaccines or further increase in supply from the federal government, which means these numbers could potentially go up.

Moving on to these next groups is going to be critical. By entering phases on a rolling basis, we are able to manage our supply and demand to ensure that there is an arm for every dose and that no vaccine goes to waste. One of the challenges other states have run into is too narrowly defining their vaccination pool, which slows down vaccinations and stalls the process. We want to continue getting doses into arms as quickly as possible and bring Colorado even closer to ending this public health crisis.

Coloradans who are eligible for the vaccine and have questions about how and where they can get it, should visit http://www.cocovidvaccine.org or call our vaccine hotline at 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).

This has been a long road Colorado, but with every dose of the vaccine administered we get closer to returning to a life where we can embrace our friends and family, share a meal at our local restaurant, throw that party, and more. We can see the finish line, but the race is not over. So let’s keep it up Colorado. We’re in this together.

Jared Polis is the governor of Colorado.

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