State calls for more young people to get vaccinated

COVID-19 Vaccine

DENVER (KDVR) — There’s a new push to get more tweens vaccinated and fast. Plus, new guidance today from the state could make it easier to get more people vaccinated.

Vaccination appointments were a pain when shots first became available. As demand goes down, Governor Polis said people should now be able to get a shot whenever they are ready.

“We are shifting our focus and we’ll be issuing the guidance today, from not wasting a single dose and using every dose within 72 hours, which was our focus to instead not wasting, a single opportunity to vaccinate,” Polis said.

This means health providers can open a vial to give patients a shot when they want it rather than scheduling multiple people at a time to use the medicine quickly. The news coming as the state pushes to get more young people vaccinated.

“We’ve already successfully vaccinated with the first vaccines, 11% of all 12 to 15-year-olds in the state of Colorado. That’s good for one week but it also means we have 89% who haven’t been vaccinated yet. So, we have to keep up the pace,” Polis said.

While the state’s number of positive cases is falling overall, concern lingers around middle and high school students.

“We are below 5% (positivity) when you look at 18 plus year-olds. So that adult population, we are where we want to be,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. “We obviously would love to see that come down even further, but we are below that 5% now. Unfortunately, for younger people, we continue to be above that 5% mark. So, to me what this means is that we are really seeing cases go undetected among our pediatric population.” 

While leaders focus on educating parents and making the vaccine accessible, the governor would not say whether the state will require students of age to get vaccinated before next fall.

“We have a very local control state. So, we have universities, for instance, some of them have required it. All the universities that have required them have opt-outs for people who don’t want it. I haven’t heard that any school districts are looking at that but if they did, they would also have that opt-out in place for parents who didn’t want it,” Polis said.

Doctors are also concerned about the number of young people landing in the hospital due to COVID, saying nearly half of the recent COVID-19 cases among young people could have been prevented by vaccination.

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