Colorado hits goal of vaccinating 70% of residents 70 and up

DENVER | Colorado has hit its goal to vaccinate 70% of residents 70 and older by the end of February, Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday.

The state expects to receive 45,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses this week. Delivery of the vaccine would come on top of 209,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both of which require two shots.

Starting Friday, anyone in the state 60 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine. The expanded eligibility will also include some frontline, essential workers such as those in the grocery, agriculture and meatpacking industries. Younger people with two or more qualifying medical conditions also can get the vaccine.

Toward the end of March, the state will move on to the next phase of vaccine distribution to people 50 and older, along with frontline restaurant, postal service, manufacturing and public transit workers, Polis said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

People 70 and older make up 78% of COVID-19 deaths and 40% of hospitalizations in Colorado, Polis said. By hitting its vaccination goal “We have made tremendous progress towards protecting folks,” he said.

Coloradans in that age group are still at the top of the state’s priority list, and Polis urged any elderly Coloradans who have not yet been vaccinated to schedule an appointment. People who need assistance can call the state’s toll-free COVID hotline at 1-877-268-2926.

Overall, nearly 1 million Coloradans have received a first dose of the vaccine, almost 20% of the total population. Another 500,000 have received a second dose, Polis said.

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