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DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis announced that teachers will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Feb. 8, along with Coloradans age 65 and up.

Polis said we should be half way to the state’s goal of vaccinating Coloradans age 70 and up. His goal was by Feb. 28 to have all people over 70 to be vaccinated.

“This process is about saving lives and ending the crisis as quickly as possible. Colorado has made remarkable progress towards vaccinating a majority of Coloradans ages 70 and older who account for 78% of COVID deaths. Given the progress we have made together as a state and community, Colorado will be ready to begin vaccinating anyone aged 65 and up on February 8th, and also start vaccinating educators and child care workers,” Polis said.

Vaccines are available in Phase 1B.2 to Coloradans age 65 and up, Pre-K through 12th grade educators and child care workers in licensed facilities.

Many large school districts have already begun working with local providers to get vaccines set up for school employees. Those employees will work through their employer to set up vaccinations.

Polis said the state has partnered with Bionax to set up a testing system for teachers in order for them to get tested every five days delivered directly to their home. He says it’s part of the state’s plan to move forward with getting kids back in schools.

Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association (CEA) responded to Polis’ announcement with this statement:

“We want to thank Gov. Polis for listening to the voices of educators on COVID-19 safety in schools. For the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to take a tremendous toll on educators, students, and their families. While we believe that ALL essential workers should be a priority for the COVID-19 vaccine, this is a gigantic step toward our longstanding goal of getting our students back into classrooms, where the best learning takes place. 

“Especially with more contagious variants of the virus, we still have work to do in order to return to classrooms with as much uninterrupted learning as possible. We call on communities to commit to lowering the spread of COVID-19 by everyone doing the simple stuff like wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and limiting gatherings. Our goal has always been to be back in classrooms with our students but all of us need to do our part to make every public school a safe place for students and school staff, no matter what neighborhood it serves.”

Approximately 452,000 doses are expected between now and March 1. The state planned vaccination rollout accordingly by number of people in each phase.

“If you have an appointment, show up and get it,” Polis said. “If you don’t have an appointment, don’t just show up. They’e not taking walk-ins.”

He was joined by Brigadier General Scott Sherman and Scott Bookman, Incident Commander, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

“Every vaccine administered is one step closer to ending the pandemic,” Polis said.

Bookman and Polis continue to encourage everyone to wear masks and social distance as the vaccine rollout continues. A set back from relaxed precautions is a concern for authorities and they stress the importance of prevention through protocol.

Around March 5, frontline workers and Coloradans ages 16-64 with two or more high-risk conditions will also be eligible to receive the vaccine, Polis said. Coloradans ages 60 and up are expected to become eligible for the vaccine at that time as well.