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Colorado beginning to see declining interest in getting the COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 20:02:21-04

DENVER — For the first time since the end of March, Colorado is beginning to see declining interest in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

"It's not a resistance-to-vaccine issue. It is what you might call a hesitancy or laziness issue," Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, data from the state's vaccine dashboard showed a little more than 339,000 Coloradans were vaccinated last week. That's a 15 percent decrease from the week before.

The peak was the week of April 4 when more than 412,000 Coloradans were vaccinated.

Polis says lingering concerns about difficulty finding an appointment weeks prior may still be at play.

"There's people who still think they have to spend an hour reloading web pages and it's hard to set up appointments. Guess what? It isn't. It’s easy to set up an appointment and you don't even need an appointment. You can just show up and get it," he said.

Joe Hanel, communications director with the Colorado Health Institute, says health officials predicted a decline in vaccinations would happen -- and it has.

"We knew the supply was going to ramp up and we knew that the people who were most interested in getting vaccinated ... they now have mostly had the opportunity to do that," he said.

Vaccine hesitancy is still real, though, especially following the reports of the rare blood clots from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But it's hard to say if that's stopping otherwise willing people from rolling up their sleeves.

"Now, it's a matter of doing more outreach rather than people coming to you," Hanel said.

With vaccine buses visiting rural and underserved communities and mass vaccination sites open with no appointments necessary, if you want the vaccine you can get it.

"The people that really wanted it have gotten it. Now, it's making sure that the people who in some abstract way think they'll someday get it instead concretely make a plan to get it this week or next week," Polis said. "And that's going to be the challenge of the next few weeks."