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Will teacher vaccinations impact those over 70 still waiting for one?

Dennis Regan, 71, wonders if he'll be pushed back in line once teachers start getting the COVID-19 vaccine on February 8.

PARKER, Colo. — Getting out of the house these days for 71-year-old Dennis Regan means just getting into the garage to work on making birdhouses.

"It's my stress relief and for me a way to get out of reality, I guess," Regan said.

His reality doesn't extend beyond his property just east of Parker because of concerns over COVID-19.

"I'm tired of being locked up. I get scared every day to go out," Regan said.

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Regan said he's been trying to get the vaccine. He's contacted numerous providers, the governor's office and Senator John Hickenlooper, but he is still waiting for an appointment.

"Desperately seeking a COVID-19 vaccine of which I'm having a terrible time trying to get," Regan said. 

On Jan. 29, Governor Jared Polis announced that teachers in Colorado can start receiving vaccinations beginning on Feb. 8. Regan said the idea that thousands of workers will now jump in line across Colorado concerns him about when he will get his chance.

"If my age group is the most vulnerable group out there, let's make sure that all of us who want it, get it and then move on to the next phase," Regan said. "I personally know about 18 people my age and older who have not been vaccinated or had the opportunity."

Brigadier General Scott Sherman leads the Colorado Vaccine Distribution Task Force.

"All of our vaccination allocation this week is going for 70 and above," General Sherman said.

Sherman said more than 220,000 residents over 70 have been vaccinated already. By Feb. 7, Sherman believes the state will be at 75% of its goal of getting those over 70 vaccinated by the end of February.

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

"It's certainly a priority for us to make sure that we get our most vulnerable population vaccinated so we're certainly working with the local public health agencies and providers to make sure we give them enough vaccine so that they meet their appointments," Sherman said.

Sherman wants people like Regan to have faith in the process especially with promises from the federal government that an increase in vaccine supply is on the way.

"That's what's most important," Sherman said. "Let's get in, get on a waitlist so that you can get called for vaccination as soon as there's an appointment available."

A spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente said those over 70 already on the list will not be moved further down the line when teachers are added.  He said once vaccine supply becomes available, people with an appointment will get a call.

"We need to be taken care of and we're not seeing that in this state," Regan said.

Regan said he's tired of waiting. He's tired of making birdhouses. He's tired of being scared of COVID-19.

"I worry about it daily," Regan said. "I miss my family."

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