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Boulder County receives less than third of expected COVID vaccines; Polis calls for ramped up distribution to state

“Colorado is ready to immediately use three to four times as many vaccines as we are currently getting each week ... The sooner Colorado gets more vaccines, the quicker we can get them into arms, and the faster we can help our small businesses and economy build back stronger," Gov. Jared Polis stated in a news release.
Dr. Leslie Armstrong, an emergency department physician, gets the first COVID-19 vaccination at Longmont United Hospital on Dec. 16 from registered nurse Jennifer Kiley. Armstrong's 5-year-old daughter Coppelia looks on. (Photo by Monte Whaley)

On the same day Gov. Jared Polis renewed his call for the federal government to provide more COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed in Colorado, Boulder County announced it received less than a third of its expected allotment for the week.

“This is not a new situation. There have been a number of weeks where Boulder County vaccine providers have not received the allocations they ordered,” Chana Gousettis, spokesperson for Boulder County Public Health, said via email Monday. “This week we were particularly surprised that across all providers combined, there had only been 800 doses allocated to Boulder County. We generally receive about 3,000 doses each week.” 

Boulder County does not yet know why the shortage happened this week, or why there are shortages from week to week, but Gousettis said officials have asked the state to clarify the cause. 

“We do know that the vaccine supply is very limited nationally,” she said.

Across Colorado, “the state and providers continue to exhaust the supply allocated by the federal government,” Polis stated in a Monday news release

Colorado’s focus is on “distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in a way that is equitable, saves the most lives, and ends the public health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 virus as soon as possible,” the release states. However, its efforts are dependent on the federal government for the state’s weekly supply of vaccines. 

“Vaccines in Colorado are not sitting in a warehouse or on a shelf and we need more vaccines immediately to protect our most vulnerable residents over the age of 70 and ultimately to end this horrible pandemic,” Polis stated in the release. 

Calling for the Biden administration to immediately ramp up vaccine distribution, he stated “Colorado is ready to immediately use three to four times as many vaccines as we are currently getting each week ... The sooner Colorado gets more vaccines, the quicker we can get them into arms, and the faster we can help our small businesses and economy build back stronger. We’re ready and welcome renewed federal assistance to get the job done.”

As of Sunday, Colorado had received 376,920 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the release. Of that, 147,420 were Pfizer first doses and 229,500 were Moderna first doses. The state also has received 217,520 second doses, of which 88,920 were Pfizer and 128,600 were Moderna, according to the release.  

Looking ahead, the state  next week expects 42,120 first doses and 16,380 second doses from Pfizer and 38,170 first doses and 33,200 second doses from Moderna, according to the release. 

The state as of 9 a.m. Monday had administered 458,441 vaccines — 375,782 first doses and 82,659 second doses, the release stated.  

In Boulder County, 21,622 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 3,901 had received the full course, according to data updated Monday by Boulder County Public Health. 

Vaccines are distributed based on the state’s prioritization plan, which is in phase 1B focusing on adults 70 and older, health care workers that have less direct contact with COVID patients and first responders. The 1B phase also includes, at lower priority, essential frontline workers in education, manufacturing, food and agriculture, grocery stores, transportation and human services. Those working with the homeless and postal service workers also are included in phase 1B.

“We hope to start vaccinating frontline essential workers below the dotted line phase 1B in March,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment stated in an email last week referencing the separation of priorities within the 1B phase. “Phase 2 vaccination will follow, but the timeline for that is not definitive.”

2021_01_26_LL_COVID_CO_phase_timeline_12_30_2020The state's COVID-19 vaccine distribution priority plan updated on Dec. 30, 2020. Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

A form to sign up for notification on when the vaccine will be available can be found on the Boulder County Public Health website, as is information on how to sign up for notifications from local providers. 

A Colorado COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline also can be reached at 877-CO VAX CO (877-268-2926) from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The hotline’s hours will expand to 24 hours a day, seven days a week starting Monday, according to information posted on the county health department’s site.

There were 387,462 cases of COVID statewide as of Tuesday morning, according to CDPHE data. There were 4,775 deaths due to COVID and 5,512 deaths among those with COVID, and 21,263 people statewide were hospitalized with the virus, according to CDPHE. 

In Boulder County, there were 16,894 cases as of Tuesday morning, 450 hospitalizations and 225 deaths, according to Boulder County Public Health data

COVID data

For information on Boulder County COVID cases, deaths, hospitalizations and trends, click here.