What are the vaccination phases in Colorado?
The vaccine will be offered in six phases: Phase 1A,1B.1,1B.2,1B.3,1B.4, and Phase 2 – General Public.
PHASE 1A — Highest-risk health care workers and Long-Term Care Facility (LTCF) staff and residents.
- LTCF includes nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities
- Independent living facilities are not included in the LTCF designation
PHASE 1B.1 — Moderate-risk health care workers, frontline essential workers, and people age 70 and older.
Frontline essential workers include:
- First responders (EMS, Firefighters, Police)
- Corrections officers
- Food and agricultural workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Grocery store workers, public transit workers, education sector (teachers and support staff), and child care workers
Colorado further specifies:
- Specialized transportation staff
- Funeral services
- Frontline essential human service workers
- Direct care providers for Coloradans experiencing homelessness
- Essential government officials
- Essential frontline journalists
For additional details about what defines frontline essential workers, click here. If you are still unsure if you are in this category, please contact your local County Public Health Department.
Phase 1A/1B.1 is well underway. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) distributed the vaccine to county health departments and select hospitals vaccinating candidates in the 1A and 1B.1 groups. The Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care (CVS and Walgreens) is in charge of reaching out, going to, and vaccinating LCTF residents and staff.
PHASE 1B.2 – Coloradans ages 65-69, pre-K-12 educators and child care workers in licensed child care programs, and continuity of state government:
- Child care workers in licensed child care programs, teachers (full-time and substitutes), bus, food, counselors, administrative, safety and other support services offered inside the school.
- Select members of the Executive and Judicial branches of state government. *note: members of the legislative branch have already received access to the vaccine
- People ages 65-69
Other essential workers include:
- Transportation and logistics
- Water and wastewater
- Housing construction
- Finance (bank tellers)
- IT and communications
- Legal services
- Public safety (engineers)
- Public health
- Local government
PHASE 1B.3 — People age 60 and older
Frontline essential workers in grocery and agriculture:
- The intent of this classification is to prioritize current workers who cannot maintain physical distance from others at their place of employment, who work in close contact with many people, especially indoors, and in places with poor ventilation including meatpacking workers; grocery store workers; and agricultural processing workers.
People 16-59 with 2 or more high risk conditions:
- The intent of this classification is to vaccinate Coloradans who have a high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. This includes Coloradans with two or more of the following: Cancer (defined as patients who are currently receiving treatment or have received treatment within the last month for cancer), chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes mellitus (types 1 and 2), Down syndrome, specific heart conditions (heart failure, cardiomyopathies or coronary heart disease, and severe valvular/congenital heart disease), obesity (BMI ≥ 30kg/m^2), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, solid organ transplant, individuals with disabilities who require direct care in their home, and people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks.
PHASE 1B.4 —The intent of this classification is to prioritize workers who cannot maintain physical distance from others at their place of employment and who work in close contact with many people, especially indoors and in places with poor ventilation.
- Student-facing higher education employees
- People age 50 and older
- Frontline essential workers in food/restaurant services
- Frontline essential workers in manufacturing
- Frontline essential workers foPr the US postal service
- Frontline essential workers in public transit and specialized transportation
- Frontline essential workers in public health
- Frontline essential human service workers
- Faith leaders
- Frontline essential direct care providers for Coloradans experiencing homelessness
- Frontline essential journalists
- Continuity of local government
- Continuation of operations for state government
- Adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial
- People 16-49 with one of the high risk conditions listed on the website
PHASE 2 – General Public:
- The intent of this classification is to vaccinate any Coloradans who were not included in earlier phases because they have lower risk of exposure or are less likely to have severe outcomes from COVID-19. May be further segmented by age if needed.
How Does Colorado Define High Risk Medical Conditions?
What is a high-risk medical condition?
Certain underlying medical conditions increase the risk of severe illness from the virus that causes Covid-19. Severe illness from Covid-19 is defined as hospitalization, admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death. Ninety percent of Covid-19 hospitalizations have had one or more of these medical conditions. The more medical conditions one has, the higher the risk.
All of the following conditions qualify as high risk for Covid-19 vaccination purposes. For reference, please visit the CDC website that details the conditions.
This is a critical point: although awareness of your own high-risk medical conditions is very important, it would only impact the timing of vaccination for those aged 16-59 and do not meet any of the criteria to be in Phase 1A/1B.
High-risk medical conditions — strongest evidence
The “strongest evidence” designation means that these conditions definitely increase risk:
- Cancer – If you currently have cancer or have completed treatment within the last three months.
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – This is based on your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) obtained from routine blood work. A GFR of < 60 mL/min is considered CKD. Stage 3a (45-59 mL/min), Stage 3b (30-44 mL/min), Stage 4 (15-29 mL/min), and Stage 5 (<15 mL/min). Although GFR can fluctuate some, we are looking for consistent values below 60 mL/min before calling it CKD.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – Most will know if they have this condition or not. This is based on symptoms and results of spirometry. You would likely be on one or more inhalers and sometimes require supplemental oxygen.
- Down Syndrome
- Heart Condition – The specific conditions include:
- Congestive heart failure (current or prior diagnosis)
- Coronary artery disease (clinical, i.e., history of a cardiac stent, bypass surgery, heart attack, or angina)
- Cardiomyopathy or pulmonary hypertension. Based on an echocardiogram (Echo) or right heart catheterization
- Valvular heart disease, such as mitral valve prolapse. Would not qualify unless this has led to CHF or cardiomyopathy
- Arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, would NOT count
- Aortic stenosis, another valvular condition, would qualify, in my opinion, if the condition is rated as moderate or severe.
- Immunocompromised – Specifically, those who have had a solid organ transplant.
- Obesity – This is anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 and above. If you have an elevated BMI due to mostly muscle mass related to bodybuilding or due to your body type, this will NOT qualify, as the designation is for those with an increase in fat mass.
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Smoking –This includes current and former tobacco smokers. There is room for interpretation here, but I would say anyone who has smoked one-half pack or more per day for 10 or more years.
- Type 2 Diabetes – This would be anyone with a hemoglobin a1c of 6.5% or greater, whether they are on treatment or not.
High-risk medical conditions — mixed evidence
The “mixed evidence” designation means that these conditions might be at increased risk:
- Asthma – Moderate to severe. You are typically on two or more inhalers and require the use of a rescue inhaler (albuterol) daily. This does not include those with mild intermittent asthma that use an inhaler episodically for exercise; cold air; other outside triggers (smoke, dander, pollen, etc.); or those who develop wheezing with bronchitis.
- Cerebrovascular Disease – Those who have had a stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).
- Hypertension – Anyone who currently has Stage 1 or Stage 2 Hypertension, whether or not you are on medication.
- Use of Corticosteroids or other Immunosuppressive Medications – The typical definition for this would be Prednisone 20mg or equivalent for at least 2 months continuously. Examples of other immunosuppressive drugs: Methotrexate, Imuran, Plaquenil, Humira, Enbrel, Remicade, etc.
High-risk medical conditions — limited evidence
The “limited evidence” designation means that these conditions might be at increased risk:
- Bone Marrow Transplant
- Immune Deficiencies – Example: Common Variable Immune Deficiency.
- Inherited Metabolic Disorders – These are rare.
- Liver Disease – This includes alcoholic liver disease, fatty liver, and liver cirrhosis.
- Neurologic Conditions – Mainly dementia-related disorders.
- Other Chronic Lung Diseases – Example: cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis.
- Overweight – BMI 25-29. Again if this is due to muscle mass, then it doesn’t count.
- Type 1 Diabetes
Please check the Colorado website for more information.
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