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'This is an enormous undertaking': State details vaccine distribution plans

The state also announced a partnership to provide at-home COVID-19 tests to schools across the state through June of this year.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) said Wednesday that by the end of February, 70% of Coloradans over age 70 will be vaccinated for COVID-19.

He made the comments during a briefing where state leaders also provided more details about how people in the age group can access the vaccine.

"We do ask people to be patient," said Dr. Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). "Everyone who is eligible will not be able to receive one right away."

Currently, the state is receiving about 70,000 vaccines per week. There are an estimated 187,000 people in Phase 1A, which includes high-risk healthcare workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes about 1.3 million people.

Credit: CDPHE

Polis said a contract between the federal government and Walgreens and CVS pharmacies are working to vaccinate residents and staff at long-term care facilities in the state.

He said Walgreens estimates that all first doses of the vaccines with their long-term care facility partners will be completed by the end of next week, and CVS estimates they will be completed by the end of January.

Watch the full press conference:

Vaccines for 70+

Polis said many people over age 70 will receive the vaccine via their health care providers, and that several major systems are working to set up online portals that will provide that age group with information and the ability to sign up to receive the vaccine. Those portals, he said, should come online by the end of next week. 

Below is some of the latest information from major providers. The state will provide additional information on its website here.

UCHealth

UCHealth is using its My Health Connection, its online patient portal, to communicate with patients. Current patients who don't have an account can sign up for one here.

Click here for the latest vaccine information from UCHealth.

Denver Health

Denver Health is working to contact and make appointments for patients who currently receive care at a Denver Health facility who have received care there within the last three years.

Signing up for a MyChart account will make it a quicker process to get scheduled, according to the hospital.

Patients can learn how to sign up by clicking here.

Centura Health

Centura patients should receive an invitation when it is their time to receive a vaccine through the MyCenturaHealth patient portal. The invitations will be sent based on the state's tired system starting with those patients who are 70 and older. 

Appointments are required and no walk-in vaccines will be accommodated.

Visit here to find more information from Centura Health.

Banner Health System

There are five facilities in Colorado and patients should check with their facility to see when they're eligible and then schedule an appointment online.

Center Summit View in Weld County

Fort Collins Lady Moon in Larimer County

Banner Family Medicine- Brush in Morgan County

Banner Health Family Care Clinic in Logan County

Kaiser Permanente

For Kaiser Permanente members 70+ (and others in eligible 1A and 1B categories) visit Kaiser Permanente’s vaccine webpage to complete the “COVID-19 vaccine sign up.” Upon providing your information to them, you will be placed on a first-come, first-served wait list for the vaccine based on your eligibility. This information will be available later today.

Vail Health

Visit Vail Health’s website to make an appointment and see their clinic schedule.

Boulder Community Health

Boulder Community Health is contacting current patients age 70 and older on an ongoing basis to encourage them to schedule a vaccination. Next they will be opening up vaccinations to 70+ patients of affiliated and community providers. Based on current vaccine supplies, it will take several weeks to vaccinate every patient age 70 and older. They ask for their community’s patience during this extended process.

He also said they are hoping to have that age group vaccinated by the end of February.

New guidance released by CDPHE on Tuesday now puts people over age 70, moderate risk healthcare workers and first responders ahead of teachers and other frontline workers on the state's COVID-19 vaccination timeline.

Credit: CDPHE
A timeline of vaccine distribution

People over age 70 and first responders are expected to receive vaccines from mid-January to late February, according to the CDPHE. 

State health officials plan to release information later this week about how members of the public who are more than 70 years old can schedule appointments for a vaccine.

The first phase of vaccinations involving frontline healthcare workers is expected to finish on Jan. 15. Frontline essential workers, including teachers and people who work in childcare, won’t receive vaccines until the end of February at the earliest.

So far, the state has administered 120,510 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, according to its dashboard.

Schools

Colorado is one of three states in the nation to partners with BinaxNOW Tests to provide one million at-home COVID-19 tests to schools across Colorado each month through June of this year. Tests can be used for symptomatic individuals, people who have been exposed but aren't showing symptoms, or for regular surveillance testing to catch asymptomatic cases.

Districts will order tests which, according to the state, will then be shipped directly to the homes of students and staff. Those individuals will also have access to telehealth assistance during the testing process

Polis said Wednesday they'll continue to distribute masks to schools for educators and other staff if they opt-in and the mask distribution will also now include surgical masks. Between August and December, the state provided more than 2.4 million KN95 masks to schools.

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