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Polis  explains vaccine access for adults 70 and up

The goal is to have 70% of Colorado residents ages 70 and older vaccinated by the end of February, Polis said Friday. 
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DENVER (AP) — As Colorado moves into its next phase of vaccine distribution, Gov. Jared Polis explained the state's plans for vaccinating adults 70 and up.

The goal is to have 70% of Colorado residents ages 70 and older vaccinated by the end of February, Polis said Friday. 

Across the state, local health officials are feeling frustrated about the lack of clear guidance in the phased distribution and vaccine disparities. They're also fielding complaints and worries from older Colorado residents who are confused and unaware of how to actually get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, the Colorado Sun reported.

Hospitals are contacting all patients in the 70-year-plus age group that are in their systems in order to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments, Polis said.

Those in the correct age group who are interested in getting the vaccine but have not heard from a local hospital, can set up an account online. For those that don't have access to a hospital, there will be community centers and health clinics distributing vaccines for interested seniors, Polis said. 

"For those seniors that aren't or can't get on portals or have their kids or grandkids help them get on portals and sign up — we really want to be in the community in a way that reaches out and makes sure that they have access from the very get-go to the life-saving vaccine," Polis said.

Polis also added that Colorado is developing weekly partnerships with mobile health clinics to bring vaccines to underserved areas.

"In reaching everybody, it's important that we go beyond just our regular hospital system in making sure that people 70 and up can be protected," Polis said. 
Colorado is seeing early signs of an increase after the holidays, said state epidemiologist, Rachel Herlihy. It's too soon to know the virus impacts from New Year's Eve, she added. 

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.