Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep Westword’s future free.
During a February 9 press briefing on the state’s efforts to fight COVID-19, Governor Jared Polis not only refused Denver to give priority to vaccinations for people affected by homelessness, but gave several reasons why he did so doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
“It would cost lives to redirect vaccines from people in their seventies to younger, healthier people just because they are homeless,” stressed Polis, pointing out that homeless people 65 and over are already qualified for the vaccination, just like everyone else in this population group “independent whether they have a home or not. “
In addition, Polis argued that given the second dose requirement for currently available Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, vaccinating the homeless is more difficult because it is difficult to communicate with people about the second shot “when they lack a regular address” . As a result, it is logistically easier to give the homeless the unique Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (There is one problem with this concept, however: the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not yet been approved by federal agencies.)
During the opening presentation, Polis noted the relatively modest number of new COVID-19 cases (934) and hospitalizations (464) for the day. He also announced that Colorado is meeting 71 percent of its goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of those over 70 and predicted that anyone in that group who so desires will have at least one vaccination by the end of February. In addition, he was confident that everyone between the ages of 65 and 69, as well as teachers, childcare workers and others in the education sector, will achieve this goal by the first week of March at the latest, despite a growing number of people complaining about the lack of appointments for the expanded pool.
Polis then repeated his conversation today with members of the White House’s coronavirus task force. He said he was pleased that the government is now committed to increasing Colorado’s vaccine supply by 9,000 doses per week for the next three weeks, and welcomed additional drugs direct from a similar program that previously affected 25 pharmacies municipal health clinics went to the state. Still, Polis wants the state to be able to monitor the performance of these sites and reassign unused vaccines to other vendors in the event of problems, which requires more transparency in the distribution plan.
After discussing his participation in several vaccination events in the past few days, including one organized by SCL Health at the National Western Complex on Feb.6, Polis introduced two guests, Linda Sosa and Rebecca Vasquez, who praised their own vaccinations in both English and English also spanish. Their presence was clearly an attempt to encourage vaccine buy-in from Latinx Coloradans and other black people who were generally more reluctant to get the shots.
The question-and-answer session started with a question about vaccination issues. Examples include some people who were not vaccinated because they lived in another county and concerns about individuals crossing state lines to get gunshots. While Polis confirmed that state officials are dealing with the complaints, he stressed that the problems stem from errors and misunderstandings rather than systemic flaws.
Likewise, Polis has not charged SCL Health and Jefferson County Public Schools with a Feb. 7 congestion at the National Western Complex after a giant was told that about 200 additional doses were available based on the Educators List. Polis praised the outfits for trying to prevent cans from being wasted and said they learned now that there are more efficient ways to do it in the future.
Polis concluded by encouraging the Coloradans to continue to wear masks in public, practice social distancing, and avoid socializing with different households while the number of people vaccinated grows in order to avoid what he called the “third peak” .
He added that the vaccine is “simple, easy and almost painless. It will allow you to regain your life and allow us all as a state to return to normal so much sooner.”
Keep Westword Free … Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we want to keep it that way. We offer our readers free access to concise coverage of local news, food and culture. Produce stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands with bold coverage, stylish writing, and staff, everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature Writing Award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism have won. With the existence of local journalism under siege and setbacks having a greater impact on advertising revenue, it is more important than ever for us to raise support for funding our local journalism. You can help by joining our “I Support” membership program which allows us to continue to cover Denver without paywalls.
Michael Roberts has been writing for Westword since October 1990 and has worked as a music editor and media columnist. It currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.