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Gov. Polis Expects All Colorado Adults Will Be Eligible For Coronavirus Vaccine By Mid-April

Gov. Jared Polis signs for a package containing Colorado's first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines Monday morning, in a still frame taken from a livestream on the governor's Facebook page.
Office of Gov. Jared Polis
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Gov. Jared Polis signs for a package containing Colorado's first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines Monday morning, in a still frame taken from a livestream on the governor's Facebook page.

Gov. Jared Polis says he expects all Coloradans ages 16 and up will be eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine starting in mid-April.

The timeline is more aggressive than the May 1 deadline President Joe Biden set for states to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults.

Polis says Colorado can beat the president’s deadline with the help of six new mass vaccination sites around the state that can distribute 6,000 doses a day.

"We’re ready to vaccinate more Coloradans faster than ever before. We simply need the vaccine, and the good news from Washington is the vaccine is coming,” Polis said.

He says any Coloradan who wants the vaccine should be able to get their first dose by the end of May.

He also announced that residents ages 50 and up and frontline workers like restaurant employees will be eligible March 19, two days earlier than expected.

Essential frontline workers should contact their employers about plans to get vaccine appointments, state officials said.

Meanwhile, the state is preparing to take advantage of an increasing vaccine supply at six new mass vaccination sites.

The sites, which are scheduled to open starting next week, will be located in El Paso, Larimer, Adams, Pueblo and Mesa counties.

“We'll start out small, but as soon as we can get that allocation that we can do 6,000 doses a day, we’ll certainly get that ramped up there,” said Scott Sherman, the Colorado National Guard official leading the state’s vaccine efforts.

The updated vaccine timeline has Gov. Polis more optimistic about what the summer season in Colorado will look like.

“I think we’re in for a very strong tourism season,” he said. “And I think we’re very excited and relieved to be getting through this and that June and July timeframe. President Biden said July 4th barbecues in your backyard. And I think absolutely that’ll be something that occurs across our state and across our nation.”

Copyright 2021 KUNC

Scott Franz is a government watchdog reporter and photographer from Steamboat Springs. He spent the last seven years covering politics and government for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a daily newspaper in northwest Colorado. His reporting in Steamboat stopped a police station from being built in a city park, saved a historic barn from being destroyed and helped a small town pastor quickly find a kidney donor. His favorite workday in Steamboat was Tuesday, when he could spend many of his mornings skiing untracked powder and his evenings covering city council meetings. Scott received his journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an outdoorsman who spends at least 20 nights a year in a tent. He spoke his first word, 'outside', as a toddler in Edmonds, Washington. Scott visits the Great Sand Dunes, his favorite Colorado backpacking destination, twice a year. Scott's reporting is part of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.