Yesterday, Governor Polis highlighted the expansion of Phase 1B in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. The expansion moves Coloradans over the age of 70, first responders, and essential workers, among others, into a higher-priority phase to receive COVID-19 vaccine. This change to the state’s vaccination plan does not mean that individuals in the 1B phase will immediately receive vaccine. SJBPH will continue to follow the priorities set out in the state’s phased distribution plan, in order.

Southwest Colorado region public health and healthcare partners are still vaccinating individuals in the 1A phase which includes high-risk health care workers who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients, and long-term care facility staff and residents. See SJBPH’s recent release on moving forward with long-term care facility vaccinations here.

Vaccination of 1B recipients will occur based on vaccine availability and once everyone in Phase 1A has an opportunity to receive the two doses required to achieve immunity. COVID-19 vaccine doses are still limited, though Southwest Colorado continues to lead the state in on-time delivery and administration of vaccine doses.

“We fully understand that many individuals, businesses, and organizations are eager to receive the vaccine and want more information about distribution plans beyond 1A,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director. “SJBPH is committed to providing timely and important updates regarding the distribution of vaccines, and we will share information on Phase 1B through all available channels as soon as it becomes available,” she said.

Vaccine planning is ongoing at federal, state, and local levels of government. It is anticipated that the schedule for vaccine distribution will continue to change and SJBPH will adapt its response as needed. SJBPH is committed to expanding vaccine distribution in a timely, equitable, and effective way and will share information on the move to Phase 1B through all available channels as soon as it becomes available.

The arrival of vaccines is good news, but SJBPH stresses that everyone must remain vigilant in following these important public health precautions:
• Stay at home as much as possible, especially when feeling unwell for any reason
• Avoid social gatherings with more than one household, especially indoors
• Encourage employees to work from home whenever possible
• Practice physical distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from another person)
• Wear face masks when in public, as required
• Practice good hygiene (wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, etc.)
• Get tested if you have symptoms, or believe you’ve been exposed through a known contact or community interaction