DENVER (KDVR) — The governor says vaccine distribution continues to go well in Colorado, noting that several groups are hitting key points in the state’s distribution plan.
While things are moving along on that end, Gov. Jared Polis wants to stay vigilant against a possible threat to our progress.
He says we need to do more testing, so we know exactly where the virus stands among our community, especially amid more cases of dangerous variants.
“The B.220.127.116.11 cases that we’ve identified are associated with the Colorado Department of Corrections in Buena Vista,” state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said at a press conference Tuesday.
Three cases of the South African variant of COVID-19 found in a Colorado prison.
“Two were among cases and one was among an incarcerated person. It does not appear that the cases have a history of travel. All three were symptomatic, one appears to be a case of reinfection. None of the individuals had been previously vaccinated,” Herlihy said.
News that those infected were not vaccinated gave Coloradans a bit of optimism but state leaders say the new findings are still a significant concern.
“Some of the antibody treatments may be a little less effective than they are for other strains of COVID-19. A person who has already had the virus might be more likely to be reinfected with B.18.104.22.168 than other strains, and the vaccines may not work quite as well as preventing reinfections,” Herlihy said.
All of this is coming as the state hits vaccination milestones. Polis said 74% of people 70 and up have been vaccinated, 60% of people between 65 and 69 have received a vaccine and so have 90% of eligible teachers. Plus, more vaccines are on the way.
“We will be getting about 7,000 [Johnson and Johnson vaccines] in the next week,” Polis said. “In addition, we’ll be getting about 10,000 more Pfizer and Moderna than previously anticipated. I would add that we have plans to use every dose within three days of when we plan to get it.”
The governor also reached out to the FDA about vaccine pooling. If approved, the state could combine leftover doses to make more full doses.
The federal government has not given the green light for states to do that yet.