On Friday, March 19th, more Coloradans will be eligible for a COVID vaccine based on eligibility guidelines set by Governor Polis and the State of Colorado.

Eligibility now includes Coloradans age 50 and older, people with high-risk conditions, and workers in food and restaurant services, manufacturing, the U.S. Postal Service, public transit and transportation, public health, human service workers, faith leaders, higher education, and other sectors. All previously eligible individuals remain eligible for the vaccine. For a complete list of eligibility guidelines, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) website. Last week, Governor Polis stated that all Coloradans will be vaccine eligible by mid-April.

Expanded eligibility does not mean that individuals in the 1B.4 phase will immediately receive vaccine. Supply of vaccine is limited, and eligible individuals who do not immediately succeed in registering for a vaccine appointment should continue to check for availability on the SJBPH website or by contacting their medical provider.

Southwest Colorado’s vaccination rate remains the highest in the state. SJBPH thanks a broad network of vaccine providers, volunteers, and all residents who have chosen to be vaccinated to date. All community members are urged, when eligible, to elect to receive one of the three safe and effective COVID vaccines. Vaccines drastically reduce your likelihood of contracting and spreading COVID-19 and are highly effective at preventing severe illness or death if you do get the virus.

Currently, 21.7% of Colorado’s total population has received at least one dose of vaccine, which is slightly lower than the national average of 22.2%. Thanks to the efforts of SJBPH and community partners, vaccination rates for Archuleta and La Plata counties are above both state and national averages:

Archuleta County Vaccinations

  • 30% of the total population have received at least one dose of vaccine
  • 21% of the total population are fully vaccinated

La Plata County Vaccinations

  • 32% of the total population have received at least one dose of vaccine
  • 23% of the total population are fully vaccinated

“We’re making strong progress and each milestone in vaccination is welcome news to the community,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH Executive Director. “We are also putting a ton of focus on raising awareness and administering vaccine directly to underserved populations or in collaboration with partners who serve our harder to reach friends and neighbors. By continuing to wear masks, social distancing and using all the tools at our disposal, including vaccines, we can turn the page on this pandemic,” Jollon said.

In addition to being vaccinated when eligible, SJBPH urges all community members to increase their practice of public health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The following are especially critical with COVID variants present in the community and caseloads currently increasing:

  • Staying at home as much as possible, especially when feeling unwell for any reason
  • Avoiding nonessential indoor spaces and in-person gatherings with people outside of your household
  • Encouraging employees to work from home whenever possible
  • Practicing physical distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from another person)
  • Wearing masks when in public, as required
  • Practicing good hygiene (washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, etc.)
  • Getting tested if you have symptoms or believe you’ve been exposed