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Millions more Coloradans now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

COVID vaccine
Posted at 8:57 PM, Mar 18, 2021

EL PASO COUNTY — Colorado's vaccination plan ramps up another notch Friday.

"We do move into 1-B-4, which is a very large phase," said El Paso County Public Health Immunization Program Manager Kristi Durbin. "The phase will comprise close to 2.5 million Coloradans."

This next phase lowers the age for eligibility to 50. Anyone with one qualified high-risk medical condition is eligible. Workers at increased risk because of their increased public contact now qualify; this includes restaurant workers, postal carriers, transit drivers and faith leaders. This link shows a more detailed list.

COVID Incident Commander Scott Bookman said during a governor press conference this month that sign-up for essential workers will be employer-based. Bookman said the vaccine task force will help employers connect with a provider to vaccinate employees.

Essential workers in Phase 1B.4:

  • Student-facing higher education employees
  • Frontline essential workers in food/restaurant services
  • Frontline essential workers in manufacturing
  • Frontline essential workers for the U.S. postal service
  • Frontline essential workers in public transit and specialized transportation
  • Frontline essential workers in public health
  • Frontline essential human service workers
  • Faith leaders
  • Frontline essential direct care
  • providers for Coloradans experiencing homelessness
  • Frontline essential journalists
  • Continuity of local government
  • Continuation of operations for state government

Eligibility means this group can sign up for the vaccine. State leaders say some may get the vaccine in the first few days of eligibility, while others may have to wait three to four weeks in the randomized system.

Following this phase the priority lists end. “We’ll open to the general public,” said Durbin. That will likely happen mid to late April.

Colorado health officials said Tuesday that the state has reached a plateau in COVID-19 cases, seeing benefits from the COVID-19 vaccine but not any recent downswings in data.

The key vaccine benefit, so far, has been in the decline in cases among the state's 70-and-older population, a group that is now 77% vaccinated, according to data presented at a news conference Tuesday. Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said the data shows a "clear benefit" from the vaccine, so far.