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CDPHE: Coloradans 70 and older will remain priority for vaccines as next phase prep begins

CDPHE said in a statement its goal continues to be to vaccinate at least 70% of Coloradans 70 and older by Feb. 28.

COLORADO, USA — As the state moves forward with its plans to begin vaccinating those in Phase 1B.2, many in the 70 and above age group are still having trouble getting their COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said those 70 and above will remain a priority.

"We expect many 70+ year olds to get vaccinated this week," CDPHE said in a statement to 9NEWS. "Our goal continues to be to vaccinate at least 70% of Coloradans 70 and older by February 28th."

The statement goes on to say that Colorado needs to have a larger population than just the remaining 70 and older Coloradans to use all vaccines the state will receive between Feb. 8 and the end of the month.

Gov. Jared Polis over the weekend said half of that population has already received their vaccines, and those who haven't should receive them in the next week or two.

"I swear I filled out at least 10 different forms," said Joe Kaltenbacher, who falls into the Phase 1B category of Colorado's vaccine distribution plans. "They would tell me the wait was anywhere from 53-76 minutes before someone would come on, and I'm not gonna sit on the phone that long."

Kaltenbacher said he finally did receive a callback and scheduled his vaccine appointment.

> Video below: COVID vaccine in Colorado: 70+ a priority as Phase 1B.2 begins

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Rick Wallen is one of many Coloradans waiting for his 80-year-old mother-in-law to get an appointment.

"We've never done this before as a society, so I know there's going to be issues," Wallen said, "but at the same time, it can't be that difficult to get vaccines in the arms of those who truly need it the most."

The state announced Friday, those in Phase 1B.2 can begin registering for appointments, but vaccinations won't start until Feb. 8.

Wallen said he fears this will make it even more difficult for his mother-in-law to get her appointment.

During National Jewish Health's mass vaccination event on Sunday, President and CEO Michael Salem said they are working with the state to ensure those 70 and up remain a priority.

"With consistent vaccine supply, we'll get them vaccinated ..." Salem said, "and then as we have more and we change the criteria to 65 and older, we'll be able to meet that goal as long as we continue to do what we're doing."

Salem said they'll open vaccine registration as soon as they learn how many doses they will receive from the state.

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