DENVER | Coloradans age 60 and up will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 5 along with some categories of essential workers and people with pre-existing conditions, Gov. Jared Polis announced in a Friday press conference.
The state now has about a three-week window into what it’s future vaccine supply will be, Polis said, which is allowing it to plan ahead for its next two vaccine categories, dubbed 1B.3 and 1B.4.
Beginning March 5, 1B.3 will include all Coloradans age 60 and older, essential workers including agricultural workers and grocery store workers, and Coloradans ages 16 through 64 who have two or more specific pre-existing conditions, according to incident commander Scott Bookman.
The conditions include diabetes, COPD, sickle cell disease, people who had a solid organ transplant and people who are undergoing cancer treatment, among others. People with disabilities who require home health care or who cannot wear a mask are also eligible in this phase, Bookman said.
In total, about 950,000 Coloradans are in this phase.
Beginning in mid to late March, 1B.4 will include Coloradans 50 and older, Coloradans age 16-49 who have one of the eligible preexisting conditions, and more categories of essential workers, including student-facing higher education providers, faith leaders, frontline journalists, people who work directly with the homeless and transportation workers.
Even more Coloradans are in this phase: an estimated 2.5 million.
“These are rough numbers but they are large numbers,” Bookman said, noting that people will have to be patient while they wait to get vaccinated.
After those phases are underway the state will look into when it can move onto phase 2, vaccinations for the general public, he said.
Brigadier General Scott Sherman also joined the conference to discuss vaccine supply. Pending the approval of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is expected to come over the weekend, the state will receive 45,000 doses next week.
The state is looking into setting up more community vaccination sites, including one at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Adams County, he said.
He also asked people to have patience.
“Sign up, please be patient, you will have your turn to get a vaccine,” he said.
Polis said that Colorado is currently doing a good job of controlling the virus, and that hospitalizations rates are continuing to go down.
About 1 in 194 Colordans are currently infected with the virus, according to a state health department report from Friday.
Once their category is eligible, Polis’ asked people to sign up to get the vaccine even if they feel like they don’t need it as much as other people.
“Don’t think twice, don’t feel guilty, sign up and do it,” he said. “No matter your age, no matter your health, you are helping to defeat this virus.”