Colorado officials expect first COVID-19 vaccine shipment to arrive next week |

Colorado officials expect first COVID-19 vaccine shipment to arrive next week

Patty Nieberg
The Associated Press/Report for America
Vail Health Hospital pharmacy technician Rob Brown practices measuring the exact dosage for a mock Covid-19 vaccine in the sterile compounding room in the hospital's pharmacy, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 in Vail, Colo. From one vial, once reconstituted to be administered to a patient, there are five doses of the vaccine. With the state expecting its first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine in a matter of days, the state health department ran an exercise to see how ready it is to take on such a mass vaccination campaign. The Pfizer vaccine, which is the first shot expected to gain federal approval, will be difficult for the state to distribute as it needs to be stored at sub-zero temperatures and requires two shots. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via AP)

DENVER — Colorado will receive its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines next week if the federal approval process goes smoothly and supply chains function as expected, state health officials said Wednesday.

The state is expecting 46,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine the week of Dec. 13 and 95,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine the following week of Dec. 20, according to Scott Bookman, COVID-19 incident commander for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Colorado sent its original vaccine distribution plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October but released an amended version at Gov. Jared Polis’ weekly coronavirus briefing on Wednesday.

The first phase of vaccines — which is expected to last through the winter — will be given to healthcare workers who have direct contact with coronavirus patients and staff and residents in long-term care facilities that have experienced some of the worst outbreaks in the state and across the U.S.

The next group will include hospital staff with less COVID-19 patient contact as well as those in hospice and dental settings. First responders will also be included in this group with paramedics, firefighters, police, correctional workers, dispatch workers and funeral service employees.

By the spring, Phase 2 will include people over 65, people of any age with high risks such as heart disease, cancer or immunocompromised systems. The vaccine will also be given to essential workers, people in high-density workplaces, other health care workers and adults who received a placebo in vaccine trials.

The final phase, expected to take place by the summer will go to the general public for anyone over the age of 18.

Courtesy Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Colorado will require health providers in Phase 1 to report 72 hours after vaccines are administered so that doses do not go to waste, Bookman said.

The vaccines will be held in eight secure facilities across the state, according to Brigadier General Scott Sherman, director of Joint Staff for the Colorado National Guard. They are not releasing the locations, but local law enforcement will know where they are stored and help with security for the facilities, Sherman added.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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.

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