Latina Vaccine

Elizabeth Hudgens, 97, receives a dose of the Phizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine outside St. Cajetan Catholic Church on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 in Denver. Latina leaders organized the clinic to combat vaccine disparities in the community after early data showed that residents of color were receiving the vaccine at lower rates. (Michael Ciaglo/Special to The Denver Gazette)

Colorado has vaccinated more than half of its 70-and-older population, which puts it more than three-quarters of the way towards its end-of-February goal, Gov. Jared Polis told media Friday.

More than 300,000 Coloradans over the age of 69 have received at least this first inoculation as of Friday, Polis said. The state has said for weeks that its goal is to vaccinate at least 70% of that population by the end of February, though the governor reiterated Friday that hoped for a percentage that's closer to 80% or higher. He said that state research indicated that least 70% of that group would be inoculated.

Polis reiterated that, by the end of February, any 70-and-older Coloradan who wants the vaccine "should" be able to get it. He said there would almost certainly be outliers, but that the bulk of that population seeking to get inoculated will be able to do so in the next two weeks.

As the state nears its goal, it has increasingly turned to vaccinating other groups. Vaccinations opened up to the next age group — those between the ages of 65 and 69 -- earlier this week, and already more than 35,000 people in that bracket have been inoculated. Another batch of vaccines, at least 30,000 a week, will be devoted to the state's educators.

Polis has said the state wants to vaccinate as many teachers and school support personnel as it can in the next two weeks, with a goal of inoculating at least 75% of the 120,000 or so educators in Colorado.

Though President Joe Biden announced earlier this week that the U.S. had ordered 200 million more doses, it remains unclear how many doses Colorado can expect to receive as supplies increase. Adding to the uncertainty is the imminent approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is expected to receive an OK from the federal government as soon as early March. 

Though Colorado officials said earlier this week that the state's allocation could double to roughly 200,000 doses next month, Polis took a more reserved approach and said there was nothing concrete yet. The state has been receiving 90,000 doses a week, though that stands to improve by roughly 9,000 doses per shipment for the next two allotments at least.

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