Colorado officials outline how a COVID-19 vaccine would be distributed

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Posted at 3:04 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 20:13:01-04

DENVER — State officials Friday outlined their tentative plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, when one comes available later this year and into 2021.

Gov. Jared Polis set a hopeful timetable of late November as being when Colorado could get emergency authorization of a vaccine, which would be prioritized for frontline workers and nursing home residents.

Still, Polis and other Colorado health officials emphasized the likely need for longterm mask-wearing and social distancing until a vaccine becomes widely available to all residents.

The vaccine plan outlined by state officials showed how Colorado would administer a vaccine, prioritizing populations most at risk for catching coronavirus: Healthcare workers, first responders and residents of long-term care and nursing homes.

The next phase of distribution would include essential workers, those living in congregate living settings, such as homeless shelters, group homes and college dorms, and others who are deemed more at-risk from coronavirus, such as adults 65 and older or adults with chronic health issues.

The final phase would be distribution to the general population.

Each phase will be dependent on how many doses of the vaccine are available. In the final two phases, when the vaccine would be distributed to more broad populations, there would need to be a sufficient supply of doses to meet the demand.

The vaccine would be distributed through healthcare settings, such as doctor offices, retail pharmacies and public health clinics, including mobile clinics.

Despite the optimism of planning for a vaccine, Polis echoed his concerns from earlier in the week about Colorado's rising number of COVID-19 cases. There were 1,312 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Colorado on Friday, a record high, and the number of hospitalizations was at 352, the highest level since late May.

Polis said roughly 1 in every 260 Coloradans are currently contagious with the virus, according to state modeling data, highlighting the need to avoid large gatherings.

Denver earlier Friday issued new public health orders, requiring masks in more settings and limiting the number of unrelated people who can gather to five, down from 10.