Watch: CDPHE discusses COVID-19 vaccine equity

COVID-19 Vaccine

DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced new efforts to increase vaccination rates and availability during a news conference Thursday morning.

As of April 21, more than 1.5 million Coloradans are considered fully vaccinated and another 2.4 million Coloradans are considered partially vaccinated after having one dose of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

CDPHE has worked with local organizations to make vaccines available in underserved communities and has expanded its outreach to minority populations. It was also offering Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine with a mobile service before the CDC placed a pause on use of that vaccine.

“We’re moving into that phase of vaccination where we are focusing on a population. They’re still very interested, they just haven’t made the time or effort to date,” CDPHE’s Chief Medical Officer Eric France said.

“We can see that Hispanics make up almost 22% of the total population but only 8.6% of those who’ve been immunized with at least one dose,” Brandy Emily, CDPHE Immunization Branch deputy director said.

The numbers aren’t the best in the Black community either. The state reporting only 2.5% of the vaccinated population is Black when African Americans make up about 4% of the state’s population.

The state allocates 15% of all vaccines to hard-to-reach communities, including areas along the Western Slope. With more vaccines, the plan is to bring the medicine to the community.

“We are launching our mobile clinic in the Denver metro area. So that mobile clinic will be in Montebello today and tomorrow it will be in Aurora off Colfax and Chambers. We’re excited about the mobile clinics; we’re excited about going to where people need services,” Maisha Fields, Outreach Lead for the state’s COVID Equity Taskforce said.

Though hesitation lingers, the state is still looking to reach herd immunity.

“We expect eight of 10 Coloradans would like the vaccine so that’s what we’re shooting for. My hope is that by middle of summer we’ll be at 75% and continue to progress into the fall,” France said.

Experts say with any vaccine, acceptance rates improve over time, but they want you to reach out to your doctor to get all the facts about the vaccine if you are feeling skeptical.

You can re-watch Thursday’s news conference on FOX31 NOW below.

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