COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – The first approval of a coronavirus vaccine is potentially just days away. Pfizer’s vaccine will go before the FDA for emergency use authorization review Thursday. As soon as it gets the green light, more than 46,000 doses are coming to Colorado.
On Friday, the Colorado Department of Public Health placed the state’s first order with the CDC for 46,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Each state will be given a certain amount of doses based on population. CDPHE expects Colorado will receive 1.69% of the available vaccine, because Colorado makes up 1.69% of the U.S. population.
“The availability of a COVID-19 vaccine is a major turning point in this pandemic, and we will act as swiftly as possible to get it distributed once it is approved,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE. “We are working closely with local public health agencies, hospitals and other health care providers, pharmacies, and diverse community partners to distribute and administer the vaccine as equitably and efficiently as possible. Because of limited quantities, it will take several months to get the vaccine to everyone who wants it — so we need Coloradans to continue to take all possible measures to prevent the spread of the virus.”
In Colorado, vaccine doses will be given out in phases. According to a draft plan from the state, the first batch will go to critical populations, including healthcare workers, and people in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
CDPHE answered a list of common questions on their website. Their list of 8 things Coloradans should know about the COVID-19 vaccine are below:
1. Like all vaccines, a COVID-19 vaccine must meet safety and effectiveness requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it is made available to the general public.
Vaccines undergo a rigorous scientific process that requires three phases of clinical trials before they can be submitted to the FDA for approval. Learn more about the vaccine safety and development process in our FAQ below.
In certain emergency situations, the FDA may issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow an investigational vaccine to be available to the general public. Read more about what that means in our FAQ below.
2. There are several COVID-19 vaccines currently in development, but the FDA hasn’t authorized any yet. Colorado is prepared for many possibilities.
We have submitted a draft vaccine distribution plan, which will evolve depending on various factors, including available vaccine(s) the federal government sends to Colorado. We are preparing for many scenarios. We know that the distribution could involve new challenges like ultra-cold storage (-70 degrees) and special handling requirements. Colorado is working with many partners to plan for and distribute a vaccine when one is available.
3. Distributing a COVID-19 vaccine to the entire state will take time.
While we are planning to act swiftly, we expect it could take several months, or potentially more than a year, to distribute a vaccine to everyone who wants one, especially because supplies will be limited at first. We are working closely with local public health agencies, health care providers, pharmacies, and diverse community partners to distribute the vaccine as equitably and efficiently as possible.
4. The state will distribute vaccines in phases until it is more widely available.
Because the initial supply of vaccine is expected to be very limited, it will be distributed in phases.
Right now, children and pregnant women are not included in any phase because no vaccine candidates are currently being tested in pregnant women and only one candidate is being tested in children 12 years and older. We fully anticipate being able to vaccinate these populations once the FDA and CDC make the recommendation to do so.
5. Cost will not be an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, vaccine providers will not be allowed to charge individuals for the vaccine or administration of the vaccine. Providers will also not be allowed to turn away an individual because of their inability to pay or medical coverage status. We expect that most public and private insurance companies will cover any administration fees so that there is no cost to the person getting vaccinated. If this is not the case, or if the individual does not have health insurance, providers may seek reimbursement through the Provider Relief Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
6. Administering the vaccine will be a joint effort between public and private partners.
So far, more than 1,200 facilities in Colorado have expressed interest in being a COVID-19 vaccine provider when a vaccine becomes available. During the initial phase, vaccine providers may include local public health agencies and large hospitals and health systems. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, the network of COVID-19 vaccine providers will expand to include doctors’ offices, pharmacies, homeless shelters, colleges/universities, senior centers, school-based health centers, and other health and medical locations.
7. We cannot wait for a vaccine to slow the spread of COVID-19.
We have to continue to follow public health guidance closely now and for the foreseeable future. Prevention methods still include: wearing a mask in public, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others not in our household, avoiding large crowds, washing our hands often, and staying home when we are sick.
8. Getting a flu shot this year is more important than ever.
The flu vaccine is available now. The state health department recommends everyone age 6 months and older get the flu vaccine, as soon as possible. Getting a flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19, but a flu vaccination will reduce your risk of getting the flu. If you have questions about getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine when one is available, read our Flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine FAQ below.
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