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Gov. Jared Polis explains plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Gov. Jared Polis issues statewide mask mandate for Colorado
Posted at 9:53 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 15:53:58-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Gov. Jared Polis detailed a plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines across the state once they are proven "safe and effective."


Polis pointed out that the vaccine will not be available any time soon and the state is seeing a high number of COVID-19 cases, with the last three days seeing over 1,000 cases per day.

"I really can't emphasize strongly enough how concerning these trends are," Polis said. "...We want to act now, we want to avoid overwhelming our hospitals."

The governor said the third week of November will provide a better timeline of when vaccines will be available based off four trials that are taking place through the end of the month.

Dr. Eric France, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's chief medical officer, explained the three phases of a vaccine trial.

  • Phase 1 Safety & Dose Selection, involves a small number of people to determine the right dosage
  • Phase 2 Small Group Efficacy & Safety, a larger number of people are tested and the immune response is watched closely
  • Phase 3 Large Group Efficacy & Safety, involves a much larger number of people who are given the vaccine or placebo to make comparisons and to help determine safety

France said there are four large, Phase 3 trials underway where two of them are using mRNA vaccines — delivered to build proteins that look like the virus— and two of them are using Adenoviral vaccines, which are paused in the U.S. The two trials using mRNA vaccines are Moderna and Pfizer, each with 30,000 volunteers within the trial.

Executive Director of the CDPHE Jill Ryan said the state is submitting the COVID-19 vaccine plan to the Centers for Disease Control and reassured Coloradans that the distribution of vaccines is nothing new, since the state had to work within the same situation in the 2009 pandemic for the H1N1 flu.

Ryan said there is a Joint Vaccine Planning Team - Steering Committee that is made up of members from the State Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Management teams. She described three phases of distribution that focuses on critical workforce and high-risk individuals, those in congregate housing and essential workers, then the general public.

This follows his press conference Tuesday where he said Colorado's three-day positivity rate for COVID-19 testing has exceeded 5%, a key threshold health officials have warned would be too high in the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Polis called the data — more than 1,000 new cases Tuesday, a three-day positivity rate of 5.4%, and a one-day positivity rate on Tuesday of 6.4% — "very worrisome" and "very alarming."

Colorado's COVID-19 positivity rate surpasses 5%, Polis calls trend 'very alarming'