Polis is working to administer every available vaccine dose, despite supply constraints

Colorado estimates one out of every 105 of its residents has COVID-19, Gov. Jared Polis said in a COVID-19 update on Denver 7 News. Polis repeatedly stressed the constraining effects of vaccine supply uncertainties, saying the state’s proactive distribution is limited by its weekly supply from the federal government.

Over 5 percent of Coloradans have received the first dose of the vaccine so far, Polis said. One in five Coloradans — 110,000 individuals —  — are expected to receive vaccines this week, he added.


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The state has dropped back below a 5 percent COVID-19 positivity rate, and Polis attributes this to increased testing in areas with high positivity rates.

“With the increase in testing, we’ve dipped back below the 5 percent positivity rate for the first time in months,” he said. “That means we’re getting better surveillance on where cases are. In December, not only did our cases increase, but we had a much higher positivity rate, meaning we were missing many more people that were contagious and were sick that simply weren’t getting tested.”

In pursuit of the state’s goal to vaccinate 70 percent of its residents over 70, Polis has directed Colorado’s vaccine distributors to use all of their available doses, including those reserved for second doses.

Polis wants to get as many vaccines into arms as possible. He directed 40,000 vaccine doses that were originally slated for next week to be administered this week, along with the 80,000 already set to be administered. He explained the state will backfill these used second doses for future supply, assuring that every Coloradans will be able to receive their second dose.

Polis explained that Colorado is notified about how many doses it will receive three days prior to a given week. According to him, this makes it difficult to sufficiently plan for distribution. He acknowledged the frustration from Colorado residents over 70 who have to wait to receive their vaccine, citing the unclear dosage amounts as the reason why some of these individuals will need to wait. He has contacted the Biden Transition Team asking them for two weeks notice instead of three days, he said.

When Colorado will make vaccines available to its 65 and older population remains unclear due to dosage uncertainty.

“We need to have more visibility in the supply chain, make sure that we have enough to successfully vaccinate not just one in five people over 70, but, as we talked about, four in five, over time — 70 percent or more is what we want to achieve.”

Polis encouraged Coloradans over 70 to quickly set up vaccine appointments online. He said these individuals might not hear back right away confirming an appointment, but assured they would be contacted within a week of their inquiry to set up an appointment.

“We are in a race against the virus, a race against time, every dose counts and there is no time to waste,” he said.