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'I'm feeling great': Respiratory therapist receives Colorado's first COVID-19 vaccine

Gov. Jared Polis received the state's first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday morning.

DENVER — The state's first COVID-19 vaccines were administered to frontline health-care workers Monday afternoon after Colorado received its first shipment of Pfizer's vaccine Monday morning.

“This is just the start of the distribution,” Gov. Jared Polis said. “It’ll help protect some of our most vulnerable, the tireless COVID workers who work in COVID wards every day, and then more will become available for the general population to help end the pandemic."

Kevin Londrigan, a respiratory therapist at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies, was the first person in Colorado to get the vaccine. He’s been at UCHealth for about 20 years and has underlying health conditions like diabetes and hypertension, Polis' office said.

"I'm feeling great!" Londrigan said after receiving the state's first vaccine. His inoculation was met with cheers and applause from Polis and medical staff.

RELATED: US COVID-19 deaths top 300,000 as first vaccinations begin

Also among the first Coloradans to receive the vaccines were:

  • Dr. Diana Breyer, a physician who specialized in critical care and pulmonology. She is also UCHealth's chief quality officer in northern Colorado.
  • Nelly Eckhardt, an environmental services technician at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland.
  • Daphne Dubach, a registered nurse on the medical-surgical unit at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins.
  • Kelly Shaul, a registered nurse on the intensive care unit at UCHealth Greeley Hospital.
Credit: KUSA
Colorado's first COVID-19 vaccines

Since the pandemic started, more than 3,000 Coloradans have died due to the virus. Polis called the vaccine a “triumph of modern science” and said he hopes the historic moment inspires a younger generation to get involved in science.

“This vaccine, once it’s widely distributed, will end this pandemic,” Polis said.

Polis also urged Colorado hospitals to administer the vaccine within 72 hours of receiving it.

“Colorado is expecting to begin receiving initial, limited doses of COVID vaccine this week, and we need to be ready to hit the ground running," Polis wrote in a letter to Colorado hospitals. "Our ability to quickly vaccinate prioritized populations and report those doses as administered to the Colorado Immunization Information System is paramount to Colorado’s ability to receive future allocations of COVID vaccine and end this public health crisis." 

The state expects 46,800 vaccine doses in the first Pfizer shipment and 95,600 doses in the first Moderna shipment, CDPHE said. 

Deliveries will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to the remaining 21 vaccine recipient sites. On Monday morning, the state lab received 975 doses, UCHealth Poudre Valley received 3,900 doses and Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs received 3,900.

The state health department on Friday identified the first locations across Colorado that will get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines based on factors including geography and their willingness to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to other providers in their regions.

RELATED: Q&A: Your questions about the Pfizer vaccine answered

Most of the initial sites are hospitals and county public health departments, according to the list released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Most sites will receive only a few hundred doses each from those first shipments. Only nine sites will get 1,000 or more doses of the Pfizer vaccine, according to the CDPHE list.

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 get first priority on being vaccinated.

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

Credit: KUSA
Gov. Polis welcomes the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine in Colorado.

RELATED: Colorado rolls out COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The state expects to get regular vaccine allocations from the federal government on a weekly basis, CDPHE said.

For the Pfizer vaccine, the initial allocation sites must have ultra-low temperature freezers to store, monitor and handle the vaccine, according to CDPHE. That requirement means most of the sites to get that vaccine will be hospitals.

According to CDPHE, here are the 46 sites that will get the initial allocation of the Pfizer vaccine and how many doses will go to each site:

  • Animas Surgical Hospital, 115 doses
  • Aspen Valley Hospital, 100
  • Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, 415
  • Children's Hospital Colorado, 4,875
  • Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center, 300
  • Colorado Plains Medical Center, 150
  • Delta County Memorial Hospital, 330
  • Denver Health Medical Center, 2,925
  • Foothills Hospital (Boulder Community), 975
  • Good Samaritan Medical Center, 975
  • Gunnison County Public Health, 300
  • Haxtun Hospital District, 50
  • Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, 345
  • Littleton Adventist Hospital, 600
  • Lutheran Medical Center, 975
  • McKee Medical Center, 230
  • Medical Center of Aurora, 375
  • Mercy Regional Medical Center, 360
  • National Jewish Health, 975
  • North Colorado Medical Center, 580
  • Pagosa Springs Medical Center, 200
  • Parkview Medical Center, Inc., 1,000
  • Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, 1,950
  • Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, 975
  • Prowers Medical Center, 175
  • Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, 10
  • Rio Grande Hospital, 50
  • Rose Medical Center, 300
  • Saint Joseph Hospital, 1,650
  • Sedgwick County Memorial Hospital, 115
  • Sky Ridge Medical Center, 975
  • Southwest Memorial Hospital, 300
  • St. Anthony Hospital, 975
  • St. Anthony North Health Campus, 975
  • St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, 180
  • St. Mary's Medical Center, 675
  • St. Thomas More Hospital, 300
  • Swedish Medical Center, 1,950
  • UCHealth Greeley Hospital, 325
  • UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies, 500
  • UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital, 3,900
  • UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, 580
  • University of Colorado Health Memorial Hospital Central, 3,900
  • University of Colorado Hospital Authority, 7,800
  • Vail Health Hospital, 875
  • Valley View Hospital Association, 215

RELATED: Q&A: Your questions about the Pfizer vaccine answered

RELATED: First Coloradans to get COVID-19 vaccine Monday afternoon

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