Colorado is expecting 46,800 Pfizer vaccine doses within days, but "we've learned to believe it when we see it," said Governor Polis in a Wednesday afternoon press conference. Within a week or two after the likely Pfizer delivery, 95,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive.
"We're looking forward to the triumph of modern science" during the next phase of Colorado's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, said Polis.
Scott Bookman joined the conference to explain how Colorado plans to distribute vaccines once received.
According to Bookman, the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine is now expected between December 13 to 16 with the Moderna vaccine expected a week later, the week of December 21. Shipments of vaccines are expected every following week, though this also depends on actions taken by the Federal government.
According to Bookman, supplies will be limited at first and it is expected to take "many months" to get the vaccine fully available to the public. Due to this ongoing roll-out, a distribution prioritization is required. This prioritization has been determined with a focus on both saving the most lives and ending the pandemic as soon as possible.
The distribution approach being implemented consists of three phases expected to stretch from this month into next summer.
During the first phase, expected to last through the winter season, high-risk health care workers that are exposed for COVID-19 patients for more than 15 minutes a day will get the vaccine, along with those working or living in long-term health care facilities. After these people have been administered a vaccine, a second 'phase 1' group will get access, including moderate-risk health care workers, those in home health/hospice and dental settings, and emergency responders, including EMS staff, firefighters, and police, along with others.
The second phase of distribution is expected to take place during the spring, including distribution to higher-risk individuals and essential workers. Among this list are those 65 and older, people with pre-existing conditions (those listed include obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, significant heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer, or the immunocompromised), people that interact directly with the public (think schools and grocery stores), people working in high-density settings, workers serving those that live in high-density settings, all other health care workers, and adults who got the placebo during clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The third phase of distribution, expected to take place during the summer, includes the general public.
The timeline of distribution is subject to change based on a number of factors, including vaccine availability.
While dose availability will be initially limited, this will expand. Polis hopes that the state will eventually get access to approximately 5.7 million vaccines to cover all Coloradans. All doses will be free and all counties will have access.
The vaccines are for those 18 and up at this point, with expansion of that expected. Both vaccines require two doses, with the Pfizer doses being 21 days apart and the Moderna doses being 28 days apart.
Those getting the vaccine during phase one will most likely get it from their employer, the local public health agency, or through a federal long-term care program. It is unclear who will be administering vaccines during distribution phases to follow.
A hotline has been set-up to answer questions the public may have. The number is 1-877-462-2911. Information is also available on covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.