DENVER — Colorado is opening up vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older on Friday, expanding access to the general public ahead of the state's earlier goal of mid-April, Gov. Jared Polis announced on Monday.
Polis said it could still take up to 6-8 weeks for members of the general to receive a vaccine appointment. But by the end of May, anyone who wants the vaccine should be able to receive a dose, Polis estimated.
Coloradans 16 and older will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Eligibility for Moderna and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson will be for Coloradans 18 and older.
As of Monday, 1,579,599 Coloradans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 999,618 Coloradans have been fully vaccinated. Vaccine access is currently open to anyone 50 and older, along with certain essential workers, such as grocery store and restaurant employees, along with frontline journalists.
The state has also opened several mass community vaccination sites at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, the Grand Junction Convention Center, the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, The Ranch Events Complex in Larimer County and the State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.
A mass vaccination site at Denver's Ball Arena will open on Thursday.
Here's information shared by the state on how to sign up for the community vaccination sites:
This page on the state's COVID-19 website has links to each vaccine provider and information on how to sign up.
As with Colorado's other vaccine phases, the expanded access comes as the state continues to receive more vaccine doses from the federal government.
Colorado this week will receive 422,090 doses, according to Brigadier General Scott Sherman, who is coordinating Colorado's vaccine distribution. The state will receive at least 372,540 doses next week and at least 391,260 doses the week of April 11.
Polis on Monday called Colorado's vaccine efforts "a race against the clock," with the rise of COVID-19 variants. The variants have shown to spread faster, though Polis said the current vaccines are still highly effective against the variants.
Colorado's COVID-19 case rates have been in a plateau for weeks, rising and falling day to day but generally remaining flat. Colorado's latest seven-day moving average of new cases is 993.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated soon