DENVER (AP) — Colorado will open COVID-19 vaccine appointments up to people ages 65 to 69 and school personnel on Feb. 8, Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday.
The announcement was made after the state updated its vaccine distribution plan to include these groups in “Phase 1b 2.” In addition to preschool through 12th grade teachers, child care providers, bus drivers, safety workers and para professionals will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
“Our schools are a cornerstone institution of our society, and it’s important that we — just as we have focused on them returning safely to school, that we’re able to keep our schools in-person in as safe a way as possible,” Polis said.
Polis added that the decision to move up school-facing personnel is “foundational to equity across the entire economy” and especially for essential workers who have had to choose between work and watching their children at home for remote schooling.
State officials estimate there are 408,000 people in this group, and the goal is to vaccinate 55% by March 5. Adults 65 to 69 will be able to schedule appointments through providers, and educators will get vaccines through their employers, officials said.
Colorado’s goal is to vaccine 70% of residents age 70 and up by the end of February. Polis said by Feb 8., the state will have vaccinated more than half of the state’s 70 and older population — allowing the state to expand group eligibility.
Between now and March 1, the state expects to receive 452,000 vaccine doses from the federal government, according to Brigadier General Scott Sherman, director of Joint Staff at the Colorado National Guard.
The state hopes to begin vaccinating the 1.1 million Colorado residents of Phase 1b 3, which includes essential workers and those 16-64 years old with two or more comorbidities, by early March, dependent on supply and vaccine dissemination, said Scott Bookman, incident commander at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
This content was originally published here.