DENVER — Governor Jared Polis announced in a March 29 press conference that Phase 2 of Colorado’s vaccine distribution plan will begin Friday, April 2, meaning all Coloradans ages 16 years old and up will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
“This is a really important step that Colorado is taking,” Polis said. The governor said that this does not mean all Coloradans in previous phases have received their doses, but that current vaccine supply allows for this eligibility expansion.
Colorado is ahead of schedule. Previously, Polis predicted that the move to Phase 2 would occur in mid-April.
The Colorado Sun reports that Colorado is one of at least 12 states that are opening vaccines to the general public this week or have already done so.
Phase 2 “may be further segmented by age if needed,” according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
To date, more than 960,000 Coloradans have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine.
It is important to note that it could be weeks before eligible Coloradans can schedule a vaccine once they become eligible on Friday. About 2.5 million Coloradans were included in Phase 1B.4, which started March 19, and many of those people are still waiting for their first dose. "Patience is key," Polis said.
“Will still anticipate by mid-to-late May...everybody who wants a vaccine will have had the vaccine,” he added.
Coloradans ages 16 and 17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine, health officials announced. Those ages 18 and up can receive any of the approved vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
Although key groups are being vaccinated at a high rate (70% of the state's 60+ population has been vaccinated, according to the governor), hospitalizations have plateaued in Colorado. Polis called it a "stubborn number." As of March 28, CDPHE reported 375 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state. That number peaked in early December when nearly 2,000 Coloradans were in the hospital because of the virus.
What's more, cases are increasing statewide. According to CDPHE, from March 14 to March 27, a majority of counties in Colorado experienced "very high" incidence of COVID-19 cases, as you can see in the chart below.
More statewide COVID-19 data and trends are available here.
During the press conference, Polis also announced that another Community Vaccination Site will open Thursday, April 1, at Ball Arena (formerly Pepsi Center). These are drive-through sites that can vaccinate thousands of people each day, if vaccine supply allows.
The map below shows the other five drive-through vaccine sites across the state, and how to register for a vaccine at those locations.