DENVER — All six of Colorado's mass vaccination sites will accept walk-in patients when appointments are available, Governor Jared Polis announced.
Coloradans will be able to receive a vaccine at the following locations without making an appointment first:
- Adams County: Dick’s Sporting Good Park
- Denver County: Ball Arena
- El Paso County: Broadmoor World Arena
- Larimer County: The Ranch
- Mesa County: Grand Junction Convention Center
- Pueblo County: Colorado State Fairgrounds
Find hours and locations at the above vaccination sites here.
“It’s easier than ever before,” Polis said about finding a vaccine. The governor said if people were waiting to get their vaccine because they were stressed about finding an appointment online, or because they wanted to make sure older Coloradans got the vaccine first, they no longer need to worry about that.
Any Coloradan ages 16 and up is eligible to receive the vaccine.
Recently, there have been thousands of slots available at vaccine sites like Ball Arena.
Rocky Mountain PBS asked the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) if these open slots are indicative of vaccine hesitancy. A spokesperson said Colorado is "not yet seeing the level of hesitancy other states are experiencing. The availability of walk-up appointments is helping us reach those who were not in the 'get it right away' group but are planning to get vaccinated when it is convenient."
"Vaccination is going to be our ticket out of this pandemic," state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said.
About 31% of Colorado’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which ranks 21st in the country according to an analysis from NPR. However, Colorado is 17th in the country when it comes to vaccinating residents ages 65 and up.
The announcement of the walk-in vaccination sites comes as Colorado is experiencing a “fourth wave” in the pandemic. Dr. Herlihy said rates of new COVID-19 cases are as high as they’ve been since late January. She said public health officials are seeing higher rates of disease transmission in southern Colorado and in the southwestern part of the state.
Herlihy said the fourth wave will look different from previous waves for two reasons. First, the majority of cases are now caused by highly-contagious variants which are believed to cause more severe symptoms. Second, more and more Coloradans continue to be vaccinated.
The below chart from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) shows that “the lowest rates of disease transmission that we’re seeing right now are among those 65+ year-olds, where we have a highly vaccinated population,” Herlihy explained.
Still, Herlihy said the state has experienced a small percentage of “breakthrough cases” in which a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with COVID-19.
From January 21 to April 19 of this year, there were 819 COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated people. That number is out of 106,965 total cases in that period, meaning that less than 0.8% of cases were people who were fully vaccinated.
This chart from CDPHE shows that hospitalizations were drastically lower for the “breakthrough” cases than they were for unvaccinated people.
Herlihy said fully vaccinated people were 94.6% less likely to be a reported COVID-19 case than unvaccinated people, according to a recent study by the state.
Find a COVID-19 vaccination provider near you at this link.