Weekly Policy Update: COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Colorado
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 12/11/2020
The last week has been groundbreaking for science and health innovation. On Friday, December 11, the U.S. FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. This news marks a turning point in the pandemic and is truly a testament to the power of science.
Congratulations to CBSA member Pfizer on this historic milestone!
Colorado received its first shipments of the vaccine on Monday morning, and the first doses were administered to front line medical workers in Fort Collins by the afternoon. Governor Polis personally signed for the first shipment, calling it “a triumph of modern science.” In a Colorado Sun article, he said he hopes the opportunity to develop lifesaving breakthroughs will inspire students considering a career in science.
In the days leading up to the vaccine’s approval, Governor Polis and the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment released a revised plan outlining three phases of vaccine distribution between now and summer 2021.
As the state has been developing its distribution framework, CBSA has been working closely with our members and industry partners to make sure state public health officials are aware of the critical functions within our Colorado life sciences workforce.
We have asked state leaders for guidance and confirmation on the appropriate distribution phases for our essential workers in the life sciences, including:
- Research and laboratory services
- Medical wholesale and distribution
- Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
- Medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers, including durable medical equipment technicians and supplies
- Blood banks
CBSA will continue to provide updates to our life sciences ecosystem as we receive more information specific to our community.
During the first phase of Colorado’s distribution framework (Phase 1A), the vaccine will be available to high-risk health care workers and the staff and residents of long-term care facilities.
In Phase 1B, vaccines will be distributed to health care workers with lower exposure to COVID-19, workers in home health/hospice and dental settings, and first responders and COVID-19 response personnel.
In Phase 2, vaccines will be available for higher-risk individuals and essential workers (likely in the Spring). According to the state’s framework, this includes:
- People age 65 or older
- People of any age with obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, significant heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer, or people who are immunocompromised
- People who interact directly with the public at work, such as grocery store workers and school staff
- People who work in high density settings like farms and meat-packing plants
- Workers serving people that live in high-density settings
- Other health care workers not covered in Phase 1
- Adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial
Finally, in Phase 3, vaccines will be available to the general public.
CBSA will continue to seek confirmation from the state in the coming days, and we will provide additional updates to our community.