DENVER — Colorado officials on Tuesday praised the effectiveness of the vaccine in the state, saying fully-vaccinated Coloradans are at least 94.6% less likely to get infected with COVID-19.
The state released data showing 819 "breakthrough" cases of people getting the virus after getting vaccinated, though the number of breakthrough cases compares to more than 1.4 million Coloradans who are fully vaccinated.
Among the breakthrough cases, three have resulted in hospitalizations, state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said.
And while Colorado's COVID-19 positivity rate has ticked up in recent weeks, Herlihy said the lowest rate of virus transmission is among those 65 and older, a group that was prioritized early for vaccine access.
The positive vaccine data comes as Colorado is vaccinating more than 30,000 people per day, even as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution was put on hold. The vaccine is available to any Coloradan 16 and older, and 2,366,344 people have received at least one dose.
Gov. Jared Polis called the vaccine's impact "amazing," and said the vaccines are "functioning as advertised."
"It's not a surprise," Polis said, "but it's really good to see."
Still, Herlihy warned of rising case counts in Colorado and the presence of variants that are more transmissible. Hospitalized patients are trending younger, which Herlihy called "concerning."
Officials are hoping case data will improve as more younger Coloradans receive the vaccine this month.
Pointing to data from the week of April 4-10, Herlihy said 140 vaccinated people tested positive for COVID-19 in Colorado out of 985,220 people, a rate of about 1 in 7,000. In that same week, 9,383 unvaccinated people tested positive out of 3.6 million unvaccinated people, a rate of about 1 in 387.
Polis on Tuesday also announced several walk-in vaccine sites that are now open: Pueblo County Fairgrounds, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; The Ranch in Loveland, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Denver's Ball Arena, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Dick's Sporting Goods Park location in Commerce City also has same-day appointments available to be scheduled.