General public in Colorado likely won’t have access to coronavirus vaccine until summer 2021
A distribution plan unveiled Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment prioritizes health care workers, and nursing home residents and staff for the first doses
The Colorado Sun
The general public in Colorado likely won’t have access to a coronavirus vaccine until the summer of 2021, state officials said Wednesday, though inoculations for health care workers and nursing home residents could start within a week.
A distribution plan unveiled Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment prioritizes health care workers, namely those who interact with COVID-19 patients, and nursing home residents and staff for the first doses of vaccine in what’s being referred to as “Phase 1A.”
Since coronavirus reached Colorado early this year, nearly 1,400 residents of nursing homes and senior care centers have died from COVID-19. More than 5,700 nursing home staff have caught the disease and as many as 10 have been killed by it.
In “Phase 1B,” which is expected to continue through the winter, first responders — like firefighters and police officers — and people who work in home health, hospice care and dental settings will be prioritized to receive vaccines.
A vaccine developed by Pfizer, which requires two doses, could be approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration in the next five days. Another vaccine being manufactured by Moderna, which also requires two doses, could be available as soon as a week after the Pfizer vaccine gets the OK from federal regulators.
“We know that in the early weeks and months of vaccine distribution, supplies will be limited. This have been a historic effort to create this vaccine in a record period of time,” said Scott Bookman, Colorado’s coronavirus incident commander. “And while we’re going to get there, it’s going to take many months to get this out to the general public.”
Colorado officials have been racing to prepare for the arrival of the vaccine, running tests and developing protocols to ensure the state doesn’t waste any doses. CDPHE and Polis’ office are also working to ensure the vaccine is stored securely and can’t be stolen or tampered with.
“The vaccine is really a gateway to the end of the pandemic,” Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday. “We can see the end in sight.”
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