DENVER — Colorado appears to be turning a crucial corner in the year-long fight against COVID-19. With infection rates dropping and vaccine distribution increasing, Gov. Polis said Tuesday Colorado may be close to normal by summer.
“I’m confident that summer will be very close to normal,” Polis said. “Based on these vaccine predictions that we have today, we are very hopeful that people who want the vaccine will be able to access it in April and May in time to have a summer that allows them to enjoy everything that Colorado has to offer. It all depends on the supply of vaccine.”
Polis said the state is forecasted to receive over 400,000 combined doses of the vaccine by early to mid-April, with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines making up the bulk of the state’s allocation. The state is expected to receive over 100,000 doses of the recently-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine by April 11.
The governor also announced the state has reached its goal of vaccinating 70% of 70-and-older Coloradans by the end of February. As of Tuesday, Colorado has vaccinated 70.7% of people in that age group, according to Polis, and he said the state is making progress on vaccinating people in the 65-69 age group.
The announcement comes as President Joe Biden says the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated, as his administration announced that drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved shot.
Beginning Friday, anyone in the state 60 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine. The expanded eligibility will include some frontline, essential workers and younger people with two or more qualifying medical conditions.
The state also hopes to make the vaccine available to those 50 and older by the end of March, a phase known as 1B.4. Essential workers such as postal workers, higher-education faculty, faith leaders and direct-care providers for the homeless will be among those eligible in Phase 1B.4.
Colorado has seen a decline in the number of infections in the past month. Colorado's seven-day positivity rate was 3.40% on Sunday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.
The Associated Press contributed to this story