Colorado will begin offering vaccinations to the general public on Friday, encouraging adults and even adolescents aged 16 and up to get their shots. Because of a number of reasons, Gov. Jared Polis said on Monday that the state is ready to move forward, but he also urged patience.
“The Pfizer vaccine will be available to those aged 16 and up. For the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, anyone over the age of 18 is eligible. “Those are the ages for which the FDA has given their approval,” Polis said at a press conference. “Colorado is taking a big step in the right direction.”
The governor cited vaccine statistics for people aged 60 and up as a key factor in making appointments available to all adults. A total of 1.2 million Coloradans over the age of 60 have been vaccinated, accounting for more than 70% of the state's population. In addition, the state receives over 400,000 vaccine doses per week. Due to a high demand for appointments at clinics, hospitals, and other health-care services, the state will open its sixth mass vaccination site outside Ball Arena in downtown Denver on Thursday.
“One of the reasons we're optimistic in extending vaccine coverage to everyone is that these six sites will all be operational by April 2.We'll be able to give out as many vaccine doses as we need. We'll have more vaccine out as soon as we know. They make the extra slots available for scheduling,” Polis explained.
However, with millions of Coloradans being eligible, it will most likely take two months to reach anyone who wants to participate.
“By mid- to late-May, we're still expecting it. So, in less than two months, or six to eight weeks, anyone who wants a vaccine will have received one. “For people in Week 6 or Week 7 or Week 5, it can be a stressful six to eight weeks,” Polis said.
Polis hopes that people will not assume the pandemic is over just yet, even though cases have plateaued at a still high level and some counties may return to more strict health protocols and regulations.
“Every day, we get closer to putting an end to the pandemic, but it is far from over. Please, particularly if you haven't been vaccinated, wear a mask,” he advised.