Why do we need a phased approach to distribute the vaccine?

We expect that the initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine(s) will be very limited for several months. This means that a vaccine will not be immediately available to everyone who wants one.  To be as fair and efficient with distribution as possible, the state has developed a phased approach to vaccine distribution to save lives and end the crisis that has been brought on by the pandemic as quickly as possible.

The phased allocation plan will prioritize people at high risk of getting exposed to COVID-19, people who work in essential or critical jobs, and people who are at high risk for getting very sick or dying of COVID-19. Prioritization is subject to change based on data, science, and availability.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recognizes the Tribal sovereignty of the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes, and that the Tribes have the authority to determine how vaccine supply will be prioritized for their populations, even if their prioritization scheme is different than what the department recommends.


What are the phases?

The vaccine prioritization plan has three phases: 1A: Highest-risk health care workers and individuals. These are the people who must have direct contact with COVID-19 patients for longer periods of time (defined as 15 minutes or more over a period of 24 hours) as part of their jobs. This phase also includes long-term care facility staff and residents. 1B: Coloradans age 70+, moderate-risk health care workers, first responders, frontline essential workers, and continuity of state government. Health care workers who do not have prolonged direct contact with COVID-19  patients, but still work in direct patient care or as direct patient... Read More


What determines when Colorado moves from one phase to the next?

In the early stages of vaccine distribution, health care providers will provide information to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on how much vaccine they need and how many people are getting vaccinated. Once we believe we have distributed enough vaccine to those who want a vaccine in the first phase, we will move to the next phase. The speed at which we are able to move through the phases will largely depend on the supply of vaccine.


How does Colorado’s rollout compare with neighboring states?

Like Colorado, other states have made plans to receive and distribute available vaccines. The CDC required every state to submit a draft vaccination plan to them in October 2020.