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Colorado To Expand Coronavirus Vaccine Eligibility To Nearly 1M More Residents March 5

First Covid-19 vaccines arrive and are administered in Colorado.
Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post
Gov. Jared Polis, left, watches as Gina Harper, clinical coordinator with pharmacy, right, reconstitutes a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before it is administered to the first patients in Colorado at UC Health Poudre Valley Hospital on Dec. 14, 2020. During the process of preparing the vaccines, Harper adds sodium chloride to reconstitute the vaccine before injecting it into patients.

Colorado has shuffled its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan once again.

Starting March 5, the state will start offering doses to grocery store workers, Coloradans ages 60-64, agriculture workers and all residents over 16 who have two or more pre-existing conditions that put them at higher risk from the virus.

Gov. Jared Polis said the new phase will encompass almost 1 million people.

Polis added the state is expecting to move to another phase on March 21, expanding eligibility to residents ages 50 and up along with several groups of frontline workers, including restaurant employees.

Courtesy/State of Colorado
A graphic shows who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado starting March 5.

Friday's update to the timeline was a departure from an earlier version that had essential workers, including restaurant employees, higher on the priority list.

Polis said the state is making decisions on its vaccine timeline that will save the most lives and bring a quicker end to the pandemic.

He also explained why some essential workers, including restaurant employees, transit workers, frontline journalists and postal workers, were being moved to a later phase.

“Nobody has really been pushed down,” Polis said. “It’s simply a consequence of making sure the supply and demand align.”

Polis said he thinks it would have been unfair to tell essential workers that they could start getting the vaccine on March 5 because the state did not have enough doses for them yet.

“I think it would have led to additional frustration,” he said.

Coloradans who want help scheduling a vaccine appointment can call the state's vaccine hotline at 1-877-268-2926.

Scott Franz is an Investigative Reporter with KUNC.