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General public in Colorado eligible for vaccine April 2

Gov. Jared Polis said that it is projected that any Coloradans who want a vaccine will be able to get it by mid to late May.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colo) announced the state is expanding vaccinations to Phase 2 on Friday, April 2. That includes the general public.

Coloradans 16 and older will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, and those 18 and older will also be eligible for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

"Just because we're opening it to all of Colorado doesn't mean they'll get it that first weekend," Polis warned. 

He said it is currently projected that all Coloradans who want a COVID-19 vaccine will receive it by mid to late May, in about six to eight weeks.

Polis repeated his previously stated belief that life in Colorado would return to some level of normalcy by mid-June.

When asked about the statewide mask mandate Polis said Colorado is moving toward more localized enforcement of COVID restrictions, and that the state is targeting April 16 to start handing over those decisions to local commissioners and mayors.

A sixth community vaccination site is being opened at Ball Arena in downtown Denver, and there will also be mobile busses distributing vaccines beginning next week, Polis said.

The Ball Arena site will open on Thursday, April 1, according to CDPHE, but people can start making appointments now.

Click here to check appointment availability or add your name to the wait list.

CDPHE said they will distribute 2,340 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on April 1 and 2 with a goal to increase administration to 6,000 doses per day.

The state has contracted with TrueCare24 to operate the site.

Community vaccination sites were previously opened at the following locations:

  • Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City
  • Grand Junction Convention Center, Grand Junction
  • Broadmoor World Arena, Colorado Springs
  • The Ranch Events Complex, Loveland
  • State Fairgrounds, Pueblo

RELATED: Vaccine guide: What to know about getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, and what happens next

Coloradans ages 70 and older, and to a lesser extent those 60 and older, will continue to be prioritized in the vaccination process, Polis said.

"Please if you are over 70, we want to prioritize making sure you are safe because you are at the highest risk for the virus," Polis said.

He also announced that 70% of Coloradans 60 and older have been vaccinated. That includes 79% of people 70 and older, 71% of people ages 65 to 69 and 53% of people ages 60 to 64.

Overall 1,579,599 million Coloradans have been vaccinated with a first dose, and 999,618 have been fully vaccinated.

Polis was joined by Brigadier General Scott Sherman during the news conference at the Governor's Residence at Boettcher Mansion.

They announced these vaccine projections for the coming weeks:

Week of March 28 

  • 274,340 doses of Pfizer and Moderna
  • 32,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson
  • 115,750 doses from federal entities
    Total: 422,090 doses

Week of April 4

  • 256,790 doses of Pfizer and Moderna
  • 115,750 doses from federal entities
    Total: 372,540 doses                                                                                         

Week of April 11

  • 275,510 doses of Pfizer and Moderna
  • 115,750 doses from federal entities
    Total: 391,260 doses

“In the last couple of months, the amount of vaccine that the state is saying we’re getting is how much we’ve been getting,” UCHealth Dr. Richard Zane, chief innovation officer/chief of emergency Medicine old 9NEWS. “I’m very confident that in the next few weeks, definitely the next couple of months, we’ll have more vaccine than we have people to vaccinate and everybody will be able to be vaccinated.”

Zane said UCHealth has the capacity of administering up to 50,000 doses a week at all of their distribution sites. Sometimes, depending on supply, they have been able to hit that number. In recent weeks, that number has ranged between 40,000-50,000.

Zane hopes they can start hitting their max more, as supply continues to increase.

Until then, UCHealth has no concrete plans to add more vaccine distribution sites.

“There certainly could be the possibility of more mass vaccinations in collaboration with the state of Colorado,” Zane said. “Those conversations are happening now.”

On the topic of adding more distribution sites, Centura Health told 9NEWS:

“Centura Health is excited to partner with the governor’s office for our community vaccination sites in Commerce City, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. We will continue to operate these three clinics in the coming months as well as our more than 35 general vaccine clinics across Colorado and western Kansas.”

Denver Health said they are currently working on their own plans, as well as plans through their partnership with the city, to decide whether they will offer more distribution sites.

Additionally, the governor announced that four mobile vaccine bus clinics will be deployed within the next week as part of their vaccine equity program. These mobile clinics will help serve rural communities and underserved urban communities.

The state has not yet released a schedule with locations and dates.

RELATED: New COVID dial 3.0 goes into effect

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on Tuesday released the latest update to Colorado’s COVID-19 dial framework: Dial 3.0.

The new dial went into effect Wednesday and will be used through mid-April, according to CDPHE.

According to CDPHE, Dial 3.0 would make it easier for counties to move into Level Green: Protect Our Neighbors, the least restrictive level on the dial. It would also remove many of the restrictions that currently apply at that level, CDPHE said.

Restrictions for bars, retail establishments, offices and non-critical manufacturing facilities would also be relaxed under Level Blue: Caution, CDPHE said. 

CDPHE said the proposed updates reflect the increasing number of Coloradans who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, including nearly 80% of people 70 and older. 

RELATED: COVID-19 visitation rules eased for residential care facilities

Fully vaccinated residents at residential care facilities can have close contact with visitors, including touch, under updated guidance released last week by CDPHE.

That means older adults and people with disabilities who live in nursing homes and other residential care facilities can hug their relatives again, provided their relatives wear masks and clean their hands before and after.

There are certain circumstances when indoor visitation should still be limited, according to the revised guidelines:

  • For unvaccinated residents, if the COVID-19 positivity rate in the county is over 10% and fewer than 70% of the facility's residents are fully vaccinated.
  • For residents with confirmed COVID-19 infections, whether vaccinated or not, until they meet the criteria from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to discontinue precautions.
  • For residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or not.

RELATED: New survey shows increased interest, uptake of COVID vaccine in Colorado

RELATED: Some experience 3-hour wait at Denver mass vaccination site Sunday

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