Governor Polis announced some updates on the vaccine roll-out today- including phase sub-segmentation. It is as follows-
o 1A- Highest-risk healthcare workers and long-term care facilities
· 90% of healthcare workers have completed the vaccine series (76,000)
· 100% of skilled nursing facilities have been given their first dose and 71% have gotten their second dose (these have come out of the federal government and aren’t counted as doses allotted for Colorado)
Phase Completed January 15
o 1B.1- persons aged 70+, moderate-risk health care workers, first responders
· thus far 40% of 70+ have gotten their first dose Doses=212,000
· persons aged 70+ in Colorado (530,000)
· goal still remains 70% of 70+ by end of February
· mod-risk healthcare workers, first responders (87,382)Doses=174,764
Total Doses received and given in Colorado 542,764 (1/29/21)
Phase runs through Feb 28, 2021
o 1B.2- Starting February 8, 2021
· Persons 65-69 # in group (288,000)
· (TEACHERS) and
· all childcare workers, educators and those who work (120,000)
to keep schools operating
· continuity of state government (100)
Total number in group= 408,100
Required doses= 816,200
o 1B.3- Rough estimate- phase will start is March 5, 2021
· Frontline essential workers (750,000)
· People aged 16-64 with 2 or more high risk conditions (400,000)
these include patients with:
§ Cancer- currently receiving treatment or have received treatment within the last month
§ Chronic kidney disease
§ COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) emphysema
§ Down Syndrome
§ Specific Heart Conditions
o Heart failure
o Coronary Heart Disease
o Severe Valvular/Congenital Heart Disease
§ Obesity defined as a BMI of 30 and up
§ Sickle Cell disease
· Solid organ transplant recipients
· People with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks
Total number in group = 1,150,000
Total doses required = 2,300,000
No definitely recommendations on how someone proves that they have 2 of these conditions have been published
Colorado is set to receive the following amounts in the next month:
Jan 25- Feb 1- 81,000 doses
Feb1-8 101,000 doses
Feb 8-15 90,000 doses
Feb 15-22 90,000 doses
Feb 22-Mar1 90,000 doses
Total doses expected in February= 452,000
Approximately just under 6 millions people live in Colorado
Other vaccines may get CDC Emergency Use Approval which should also speed the process
How to sign-up for vaccine:
Teachers, school workers and childcare workers will be contacted by their employer to schedule vaccine
Everyone else should go to: https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-for-coloradans
And see the ways to sign up to be notified when you qualify for the vaccine
The new toll-free number is 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).
Governor Polis 1/29/2021 Covid update:
You may also watch our blog post at https://www.highlandshealthforlife.com
Whitney Kennedy, MD
January 27, 2021
Colorado has given:
458,000 first doses of Covid-19 vaccinations
(7-8% of Coloradoans have gotten first dose)
82,659 second doses of Covid-19 vaccinations
o We expect 80,500 doses will be delivered to Colorado next week
Age itself is the greatest risk factor for dying from Covid-19
o Current priorities are to vaccinate the 530,000 persons 70 years old and up in Colorado
o Colorado’s goal still remains to have 70% of persons 70 years old and up by February 28th
This weekend at Coors Field
10,000 Covid-19 vaccines to be given to patients 70+
Sign-up at www.uchealth.org/covid
or call 720-462-2255
o Initial data show that the current Covid-19 vaccinations available in the U.S. are effective against the UK variant B.1.1.7- not only is this variant more contagious than the variants that have been spreading through the US recently, there is preliminary data that shows that the B.1.1.7 UK variant may cause more severe disease than initially thought. With initial genomic monitoring in Colorado, which is not comprehensive yet, 10 cases of the UK variant have been found.
o Discussions are in process for a date to open vaccine qualification to persons 65 years old and up
o According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, in most cases individuals who have received 2 doses of the Covid-19 vaccination do not need to quarantine after exposure to Covid-19 once 2 weeks have passed since the second vaccine. Once you are fully vaccinated you need to continue the same precautions (ie masks, washing hands, social distancing) because we are not sure if a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus to unvaccinated people.
o According to the CDC, patients that have had Covid-19 disease may still safely receive the vaccines.
o According to Governor Polis, teachers have been pushed up to approximately March for vaccinations.
Governor Polis’ most recent update from 1/26/2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3duzoUMJvU
Covid-19 Vaccination Update
January 22, 2021
Governor Polis again addressed the state today with new updates on vaccine numbers and access.
· 6% of 5.7 million Coloradoans have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
· 83,000 doses are expected to be delivered next week
· Newest distribution is as follows:
o 60% to large hospital systems and retail pharmacies
o 15% to Community Health Care Clinics
o 15% to Local Health Departments
o 10% to the Governor’s Equity Task Force and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to ensure that underserved minorities and populations get access to vaccine Everyone has access to vaccine regardless of their immigration status
· Exciting news for middle school and high school children in Denver and surrounding counties this week- finally getting back to school
· Unfortunately, no Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for children 15 years old and under so it is important to get as many adults vaccinated as possible to help protect our children as well.
· It won’t be too long before we will enter Phase 2: see phases at
· We are not sure exactly how and by whom medical disease designations will be assigned in the 16-59 age group- but when we know, we will let you know.
· For those who are 70 years old and up we have new phone number contacts for those who do not use the internet as much
o www.DenverHealth.org/CovidVaccine 303-436-7000
o Boulder Community Health www.BCH.org 303-415-7777
o www.SCLHealth.org/CovidVaccine/ 1-833-762-0141
o www.Centura.org/Vaccine 1-866414-1562
o www.UCHealth.org/CovidVaccine 303-453-2477
o www.healthonecares.com/Vaccine 303-453-2477
o www.saludclinic.org no # yet
o Kaiser www.KP.org/CovidVaccine/Colorado no # yet
· You do not need a previous affiliation with any of these groups to get signed up for a vaccination
· There is NO COST to get these vaccinations- they may ask for your pharmacy benefit insurance info to bill your insurance for administration of the vaccine but patients should not be paying anything.
· FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE OLDER FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS AND FAMILY WHO MAY NOT BE TECH SAVVY- CONSIDER OFFERING SOME HELP GETTING THEM SCHEDULED ON-LINE- THIS IS STILL THE MOST EFFICIENT METHOD- WHEN VACCINE BECOMES AVAILABLE THE ABOVE HOSPITAL SYSTEMS WILL REACH OUT TO THEM.
· In the meantime, everyone stay safe and healthy
Governor Polis’ press Conference January 22, 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLoiv73QbZc&t=1923s
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Vaccines for Coloradoans Update:
Stay tuned to our Blog at https://www.highlandshealthforlife.com for continuing updates
Whitney S. Kennedy, M.D.
At the end of yesterday, January 20, 2021, Colorado had recorded 379,227 cases of Covid-19 infections. We have lost 4,579 Coloradoans to this terrible virus. Currently, we have 827 patients admitted to Colorado hospitals for Covid-19 and 33% of our total number of ventilators in Colorado are in use. Believe it or not, Colorado has done quite well recently in terms of hospital usage. In early December it was very scary with 23% of all of the Colorado hospital beds occupied by patients with Covid-19 and 55% of all ventilators in Colorado in use. To put this into perspective, we generally think that most hospitals run at about 80% bed capacity with the regular everyday things which require hospitalization. When you add the usual 80% bed usage + 23% Covid-19 patient bed usage, it gets disturbingly close to 100%. At 100% we worry that those with heart attacks or broken legs or any number of terrible things will not have good access to care. Field hospitals can be activated but they require some lead-in time and certainly do not offer the same level of care as a normally staffed hospital. Currently, 1 in 5 Coloradoans are considered contagious. Think about the number of people you are exposed to everyday.
Therefore, it is all of our responsibilities to make sure that we stay safe and help those around us stay safe. Wearing masks is about respect for other people and yourself. I wear my mask to protect you and you wear your mask to protect me. It only works if we are all in it together. Beyond that, trying to distance ourselves from those whom we do not live with and making sure to wash our hands and not touch our eyes is helpful.
Colorado is actively working to vaccinate as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. There is a lot of frustration about the slowness in getting vaccinations, but the limitation is solely based on the number of doses that are delivered from the federal government every week. Colorado is in the top 10 states for getting doses to people as fast as possible. No doses are held back. This week we have gotten a bonus of 40,000 doses on top of the 70,000 doses we normally expect in a week. By the end of the weekend, 1 in 5--- 70+ year-olds should have their first dose. Unfortunately, that means that 4 in 5 will not. Over the next 5-6 weeks the goal is to make sure that 70% of the age group 70+ gets covered.
If you would like to get the most up-to-date information about vaccine distribution, follow Governor Polis’ press conferences every Tuesday and Friday around noon. Here is a link to his most recent press conference:
How can you sign-up to get vaccinated:
1. Currently community members who are 70 years old or older are eligible for vaccination with the COVID-19 vaccine. Although the CDC released recommendations to vaccinate people age 65yo and above, the CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) has determined that the vaccine supply is not great enough to vaccinate the 65+ age group at this time and are continuing to vaccinate people 70 years old and older only.
2. Both Kaiser Permanente and the University of Colorado hospital systems have started vaccinating community members over 69yo, regardless of prior patient relationship with that hospital system. Patients need to create a portal at the links below and they will be contacted when their tier becomes available, based on supply. Denver Health, SCL and Centura also have portals available and patients who have been seen at these hospital systems recently may sign up for their wait lists as well. If you need assistance getting signed up for a portal please let us know.
Denver Health: https://www.denverhealth.org/patients-visitors/coronavirus
Should I get vaccinated?------------The short answer is absolutely YES.
The only absolute contraindication is severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxis after a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components, or immediate allergic reaction of any severity to polysorbate. Most people would know if they were allergic to polysorbate because it is in many foods and cosmetics.
Several of us at the clinic have already completed the 2-dose series with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The most common side effect after the first vaccination was a sore arm for 1-2 days, similar to getting your tetanus shot. The reactions after the 2nd booster shot tend to be a little more than the first one. Dr. Kennedy felt a little more tired for 2 days then fine. The idea is that you build a small army of antibodies after the first vaccination. When that first army sees the “invader” (a protein that sits on the outside of the virus capsule) they have been trained to attack, they make a larger more lasting army. If you have had Covid-19 infection in the past, you may see a more robust response after the first dose similar to the second dose in someone who has never been infected. If you have had Covid-19 infection in the past, it is still recommended that you get the 2-dose vaccine. My take on symptoms that you get after a vaccine, is that they are simply proof that your immune system if doing its job. A couple of days of a little discomfort may save your life and eventually will allow us to get back to the days before “pandemic” was a realistic nightmare.
After you are fully vaccinated, we still have to be careful around others. Currently, we are not sure whether fully vaccinated people are still able to carry the virus (without getting sick) and passing it on to others who have not been vaccinated. As more research is completed, we will have more information.
I will be continuing to update this blog so that you have the most up-to-date information.
Whitney Kennedy, M.D.
Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Update
I know that many of you have many questions about the Covid-19 vaccine distribution. The information changes daily and I would like to help you stay up-to-date on where we are in the vaccination phases and how to get one when your group is called.
The CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) has made a website to help keep you informed. This can be found at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-for-coloradans
You can find the phases of vaccine distribution at this website.
As of today January 15, 2021 we have completed Phase 1A. As many of you have heard, Dec 30, 2020 Governor Polis moved the state to Phase 1B which includes ages 70+ while we were finishing up 1A. Their goal has been to open the next phase once approximately 50% of the patients in the current phase have been completed.
Many of our patients aged 70+ have been very frustrated because there hasn’t been a clear path as to how to get the vaccine. We have been equally as frustrated trying to get our 70+ patients signed up for vaccinations. Governor Polis speaks for the entire state. Certain counties vaccinated faster than others and he opened Phase 1B so that those counties didn’t have to slow down their rate of vaccination. Denver however was not ready to move to Phase 1B when it was opened. The availability of vaccines for patients aged 70+ in the Denver Metro area have been few and far between to say the least.
In Governor Polis’ press conference today, January 15th, he was able to give us a little more data and explanation behind how things are working.
As of today:
· 64,500 or 85% of healthcare workers have received their first dose of vaccine
· 48,000 have received their second dose
· 40,000 of the 530,000 patients in Colorado who are 70 and older have received their first dose
o Those 2 groups equal 152,500 doses
o Colorado has been distributed 300,000 doses total- as of today 242,495 have been given
o The other 147,500 doses have been given to skilled nursing facilities, long term care facilities, first responders and essential workers.
· 203 of Colorado’s 209 Skilled Nursing Facilities, patients and staff have received their 1st dose
As of January 16th, priority goes to all patients in Colorado aged 70+
Colorado’s goal is to have 70% of patients 70 years and up vaccinated by the end of February
Colorado has one of the highest rates of vaccinations in the country
There was a big setback today. The federal government has been promising to deliver 250,000 doses to Colorado to go toward 2nd doses from the National Stockpile this week. All of the Governors were informed by the current administration today that there is no National Stockpile of Covid-19 vaccinations.
Currently, Colorado gets about 77,000 doses a week. With the expected 250,00 doses we expected this week, Colorado could have vaccinated almost half of the 530,000 patients aged 70 and up in Colorado immediately. Starting February the anticipated weekly delivery is expected to increase to 90,000-100,000 doses a week. However, Colorado’s goal for this patient population has not changed. We would like to see 70% of patients 70 and up vaccinated at least with one dose by the end of February.
So how are these distributed?
Community Health Centers 20%
Health Partners 20% (skilled nursing facilities, long term care)
None are being distributed to local clinics, likely due to the need for research level freezers.
How can you get a vaccination in the Denver Metro area?
· We are being told that the best chance for patients aged 70 and up to get the vaccination is through a hospital system.
· If you have ever been to a hospital in Colorado in the recent past, you likely have a patient portal account.
· If you haven’t then you may sign up for an account by following the links at https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-for-coloradans
· There may be random opportunities at pharmacies but since they only get 1 week’s warning as to how many they are getting, the scheduling is tough
· The hospitals are randomly reaching out to all of their patients aged 70+ with portal accounts to get scheduled starting now
· This will take some time, based on the current flow of vaccines
Things that may change this timeline for the better:
· The Biden administration has an aggressive vaccine roll-out plan to deliver 100 million vaccines within the first 100 days of his presidency. This would allow for one-third of Coloradoans to be vaccinated in the first 100 days.
· Another vaccine like the one from Johnson & Johnson may be approved soon - this is a one dose vaccine and can be stored at normal fridge/freezer temperatures (clinics will have a better chance at getting these to vaccinate their own patients) Highlands Health for Life has applied 3 times already.
An important thing that we do not know:
Once fully vaccinated, can immune people continue to transfer the virus to non-immune persons?
· The answer to this is not known……….yet.
· Unfortunately, that means that we will not be able to drop all of our precautions once we get vaccinated.
· That means if you are vaccinated, you would not likely get infected but may be able to infect others who are not vaccinated.
Overall, whether you get vaccinated now or in several months our general precautions will not change much.
I will continue to try to update the blog on our new website at www.highlandshealthforlife.com
In the meantime, keep your eyes, ears and email open for local vaccination opportunities.
Whitney Kennedy, MD