Gov. Jared Polis’ team of medical experts has outlined a preliminary plan to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to Colorado residents when it becomes available.
Created by the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee, the provisional outline is designed to eventually provide the vaccine to every eligible Coloradan, with first priority going to residents with the greatest need, the plan states.
“Throughout the pandemic, saving the most number of lives has been a guiding public health principle,” the document said.
The committee drafted the document with the understanding that a small amount of vaccine will likely be made available at first, according to the report. The distribution plan states that the primary goal is to distribute the vaccine in a way that will do the most good for the greatest amount of people.
The document outlines three vaccination phases. Phase 1 will be critical workforce, which will include health care workers, emergency responders like firefighter, police officers, and paramedics. The first phase will also include residents and patients in assisted-living, long-term care and nursing facilities.
Phase 2 will include essential workers who regularly interact directly with the public, as well as adults age 65 or older and those with high-risk conditions, such as diabetes and lung or heart problems.
Phase 3 will include essential workers who do not generally interact with the public, as well as the “general public,” which the group defines as adults age 18 to 64 who do not suffer from high-risk conditions.
The goal of the plan is to broaden distribution as manufacturers increase the availability of the vaccine, the group stated.
“It would not make sense to have an extremely large phase in the vaccination process before a sufficient supply is available,” the document said.
The governor’s medical team pointed out that great pains were taken to make the process as fair as possible.
“The key mission for our vaccine administration planning is to establish an ethically defensible and fair allocation system that is both transparent and unbiased,” the document stated.
The committee acknowledges the “disproportionate toll” the virus has taken on “communities of color, including Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous populations,” and outlines a provisional plan to deal with that.
The plan also addressed public concerns about the potential health risks of a new virus, stating that an estimated 30% to 50% of Americans might be hesitant to take the vaccine. The state health department has begun an education effort aimed at alleviating public concerns, the document stated.