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KUNC is here to keep you up-to-date on the news about COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — Colorado's response to its spread in our state and its impact on Coloradans.

Colorado Receives First Shipment Of Pfizer's Coronavirus Vaccine

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David Zalubowski
AP Photo
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, right, looks on as the state’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine is put in a freezer by Patrick Belou, logisitics specialist at the laboratory for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, early Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in east Denver. The state received 975 frozen vials of the vaccine, which will be distributed immediately.

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Denver on Monday morning, marking the beginning of what’s likely to become a year-long effort to vaccinate millions of Coloradans and, ultimately, end the pandemic.

In a video streamed on Facebook, Gov. Jared Polis cheered as the doorbell rang at a loading bay inside the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Polis opened the door, and a FedEx delivery man asked him to sign for the vaccines.

“I’ve been waiting to do this signature for nine months,” Polis said.

A staff member from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment placed the large white box containing 975 doses of vaccine onto a metal cart. The group then wheeled the vaccines into a state lab, where they quickly unboxed the doses and placed them into an ultra-cold freezer for storage.

“This is a life-saving vaccine that’s arriving,” Polis said. “We’re excited to be giving it to some of the people who actually work in COVID wards.”

Colorado placed its first order of Pfizer vaccines more than a week ago. Last Friday, the federal government granted the company emergency use authorization after preliminary efficacy data showed the vaccine was 95% effective at preventing a serious case of COVID-19. The company then started shipping vaccines over the weekend.

Under Colorado’s latest prioritization plan, ICU doctors and nurses will be first in line for shots. Residents of nursing homes will also be a part of the first group to get vaccinated.

Colorado has a list online of where the first vaccines will be administered. Polis is scheduled to visit UC Health Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins Monday afternoon to meet health care workers as they get vaccinated.

Colorado is expected to get a total of 46,800 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine this week. A second, even larger order of vaccines from biotechnology company Moderna is expected to arrive next week.

I cover a wide range of issues within Colorado’s dynamic economy including energy, labor, housing, beer, marijuana, elections and other general assignment stories.