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It could take up to a year before every Coloradan who wants a coronavirus vaccine can get one

The federal government will distribute vaccine supplies to states based on population size, and this means millions will likely go without in Colorado until summer -- at least

John Ingold
The Colorado Sun
A sign reminds students, faculty and visitors to maintain social distance to combat the spread of the coronavirus while on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, in Golden, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Most Coloradans who want a coronavirus vaccine could begin receiving one as early as spring but may have to wait up to a year, two state health officials said Thursday, tamping down expectations that promising news about vaccine development could rescue the state from the current surge in cases.

Based on current projections, Colorado is expected to receive enough vaccine next month and in the first few months of 2021 to inoculate no more than a couple million adults. That would leave still millions more in need of a shot — and leave the state short of what is needed to achieve herd immunity to the virus. The state currently has no plans for a vaccination campaign for children, since none of the vaccines in development has completed extensive testing in kids.

“It is going to take us upwards of months, potentially a year to distribute vaccine to everybody who wants one in the state,” Diana Herrero, the interim deputy director of the state Health Department’s Division of Disease Control and Public Health Management told members of a special committee that advises the governor on pandemic response.

Earlier this week, the drug company Pfizer announced initial results from clinical trials showing that its COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy rate above 90%. Independent experts have already thrown cold water on that announcement, pointing out that Pfizer released the figure via press release instead of the standard and peer-reviewed practice of publishing detailed data in a medical study. Pfizer has not yet asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the emergency-use authorization needed before it can begin distributing its vaccine widely.

But Colorado has already begun planning for how to distribute the Pfizer vaccine — which requires special ultracold storage — and others. Herrero, speaking to members of the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee, said the state expects that the pharmaceutical company Moderna will also announce initial results from its vaccine trial and request an emergency authorization in a matter of weeks. If all goes well, vaccines from AstraZeneca and Janssen could be available by the end of winter, too, she said.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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