DENVER — Vaccination group 1B.4 will begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, expanding the potential pool of recipients by millions of Coloradans.
The group encompasses all Coloradans aged 50 and older along with specific employment groups, including restaurant workers, public transportation employees and instructors in higher education, among others.
"It's something that we've been working on for quite some time," said Dr. Michelle Barron, the senior medical director of infection prevention at UCHealth in Aurora. "I think we're ready to go."
Coloradans eligible in the new group may have to wait some time before receiving the vaccine, however. Most healthcare systems offer vaccines based on lotteries. Though the supply of vaccines has increased, so has the number of eligible Coloradans. However, most healthcare groups allow anyone eligible to sign up regardless of their insurance network or primary care provider.
"Sign up at multiple places, and then see who you get invited to," said Barron. "Pharmacies, grocery stores, health systems are all offering the vaccine."
Another request from healthcare officials is to choose your vaccination dates wisely. Missed vaccinations can cause headaches for recipients and healthcare workers.
"You really shouldn't anticipate that you're going to have the luxury of saying, 'Oh, I'm going to be on vacation,'" Barron said. "We really want people to understand that there's a lot of effort going into how to do this. So choose your dates wisely."
There is growing hope that the vaccines will curb the worst aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, but there is concern that variants of the disease could spread and reverse some of the progress made.
"We're in a race against getting enough vaccine uptake, and getting herd immunity against the potential threat of the variants," Barron said.
She said getting a vaccine is "not only for you, it's for your friends, for your neighbors for your family. It's so that as a society, we can move forward."