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Colorado rolls out COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

As part of the three-phase plan members of the general public aren't expected to get the vaccine until summer.

DENVER — People who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients for 15 minutes or more, such as emergency room workers and staff at long-term care facilities, will receive first-priority vaccines.

They will be followed by additional healthcare workers, staff at dental offices, hospice workers and first responders, which are all included in the first phase of the three-phase distribution plan.

"We know that in the early weeks, the supply will be limited," said Scott Bookman. "This has been a historic effort to create this vaccine in a record period of time and while we are going to get there, it is going to take us many months to get this out to the general public."

>> Click here to visit a state website dedicated to the vaccine

Colorado expects to receive its first shipment of 46,800 Pfizer vaccinations Dec. 13-16, and the first shipment of 95,600 Moderna vaccine doses about a week later. Pfizer vaccines require two doses and have an efficacy of 95%. Moderna's is 94.5% effective and also requires two doses.

Vaccine distribution will take place during three phases, in winter, spring and summer. That last phase will include the general public. The middle phase will include those at higher risk due to age or health conditions and essential workers and those who deal with members of the public on a daily basis.

Phase 2 would include the following:

  • Grocery store workers
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Educators
  • People who work in high-density environments (meatpacking plants)
  • 65 or older
  • Other healthcare workers not included in phase 1
  • Any adult who participated in the vaccine trial who received the placebo

Bookman and Polis both noted that anyone who meets those conditions can get the vaccine in the second phase even if they live in a congregate setting such as a prison.

"It does not matter where you live. It matters what your susceptibility to this virus is and you'll be vaccinated in that phase," said Bookman.

Watch the full press conference:

The vaccine will not be mass distributed to everyone in those places as part of phase two.

At this point, the vaccine is only available to those 18 and older.

RELATED: What will a COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine trials look like for children?

Bookman said when putting together the distribution plan, they focused on saving the most lives and ending the pandemic crisis as quickly as possible.

Vaccines will be stored at eight hubs across the state that are not being identified publicly for security reasons. Distributing the vaccine from those locations will be a complicated process due to the fact that it must be stored extremely cold and moved across the state. For that reason, a task force has been set up to oversee the process. It will be tasked with monitoring the process and reporting and issues and then making any necessary changes.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) will approve and enroll providers in the vaccine program and coordinate with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. First vaccines will most likely be distributed by employers, such as in healthcare settings, and local public health agencies, officials said. There will be limited availability from pharmacies.

Officials said they expect a lot of questions about the vaccine and the process and have set up 1-877-462-2911 as a hotline to call for information. Vaccine information can also be found online by visiting here.

Reporting and tracking

  • COVID-19 vaccine providers must document administered vaccines in the patient’s vaccine record within 24 hours of vaccine administration as well as report required information to the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) as soon as practicable and no later than 72 hours after vaccine administration.  
  • CDPHE will submit daily, de-identified COVID-19 vaccine administration data to the CDC as required. No personally identifiable information will be shared with CDC.
  • CDPHE will monitor compliance with CDC documentation and reporting requirements. Additional tracking will occur through the CIIS Vaccine Ordering and Inventory Module (VOM).
  • CDPHE will offer direct assistance and technical support to COVID-19 vaccine providers to help them meet reporting requirements.

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On Tuesday, Polis extended the state's mask mandate for 30 days.

The executive order requires all Coloradoans to wear a face-covering while in public indoor locations, with some exceptions. 

A mandatory mask-wearing requirement for Colorado first went into effect in July 2020 and has been extended since.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), masks should:

  • Be clean and in good repair.
  • Fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Be secure.
  • Include multiple layers of fabric.
  • Allow for breathing without restriction.
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried.
  • Be on the wearer's face.
  • Be laundered on a daily basis.

There are 1,629 patients currently hospitalized in Colorado as of Dec. 8, and the seven-day, moving average positivity rate is 12.36%, according to the latest data from CDPHE. 

RELATED: First Gentleman Marlon Reis released from hospital after COVID-19 treatment

RELATED: State tests vaccine delivery protocols

RELATED: Colorado coronavirus latest numbers, Dec. 9


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