All Coloradans will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting Friday – The Coloradoan

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All Coloradans will become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday, weeks earlier than previously announced.

About half of Coloradans are estimated to be currently eligible through Phase 1B.4, Gov. Jared Polis previously said. The state had planned to open vaccine eligibility to the general public starting in mid-April. 

But starting Friday, Colorado will expand vaccine eligibility to anyone who wants one, Polis said during a press conference Monday.

To find a vaccine appointment in Larimer County, visit www.larimer.org/health/communicable-disease/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-vaccine.

More: Here’s how to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Larimer County

About 1.5 million Coloradans have received one dose of a vaccine, and about 1 million are fully vaccinated, Polis said. People are fully protected against the coronavirus two weeks after their first and only Johnson and Johnson dose or two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. 

While eligibility will open to all Friday, it will still take several weeks to vaccinate everyone who wants one, Polis said. Some in the general public may find an appointment next week, while others may have to wait six or eight weeks for their turn. 

“Patience is key,” Polis said.

Mask mandate still in effect: COVID-19 vaccines are opening to all in Colorado. Should you still wear a mask after getting one?

The state is encouraging vaccine providers to continue prioritizing high-risk Coloradans who have not yet received a vaccine as the state expands eligibility. 

Those 16 and older can get the Pfizer vaccine, Polis said. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are approved only for those age 18 and up.

The state anticipates receiving 400,000 to 500,000 vaccine doses every week. Polis said health officials expect every Coloradan will be able to receive their first vaccine by mid- to late May. 

Five of the six state-sponsored mass vaccination sites have opened, including a drive-thru clinic at The Ranch in Loveland and at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. The final mass vaccine site, at Ball Arena in Denver, will open Thursday, April 1

More: Colorado’s only FEMA-supported mass vaccination site opens in Loveland

Polis also announced the state will launch four buses as mobile vaccine clinics to help distribute the Johnson and Johnson vaccine beginning in the next week. The buses are aimed to serve medically underserved and rural communities, Polis said.

“It’s really about making it easier for people,” Polis said.

It will still be several weeks until most Coloradans will have access to a vaccine, and virus variants are still present and spreading in the community, Polis said. It’s important to continue following public health guidelines like social distancing and mask wearing while vaccines are being distributed. 

“This is a race against the clock to safely vaccinate people while variants are on the rise,” Polis said. “… Now is not the time to let up.”

Sady Swanson covers public safety, criminal justice, Larimer County government and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at sswanson@coloradoan.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

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All Coloradans will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting Friday – The Coloradoan

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