4 Colorado mass vaccine sites, including The Ranch, to offer shots to walk-ins

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As hospitalizations increase across Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis announced that four vaccination sites will begin allowing people to walk-in — or drive-in — to get their shots. 

Beginning Wednesday, The Ranch in Loveland, the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo County, Ball Arena in Denver County and the Grand Junction Convention Center in Mesa County will all accept walk-in or drive-in appointments. 

“There’s no more excuses,” Polis said. “It’s free, quick and easy at multiple sites across the state.”

Polis said allowing walk-in vaccinations is not indicative of the state having more supply than demand but is an effort to reach those who have put off getting the vaccine but are not resistant to vaccination. 

“For those of you who have been putting it off, now’s the time to get it,” Polis said. “Maybe you’ve thought, ‘Hey, I’m 24 and healthy, I want to let my elders get it first.’ Well, guess what? Now it’s your turn.”

As of April 20, Polis estimated about half of adults in the state are at least partially vaccinated, but 50% of adults and all kids under 16 are still susceptible to COVID-19. 

More:With COVID-19 rules lifting, here’s where you’re supposed to wear a mask in Larimer County

State epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy provided an update on the efficacy of vaccines in the state, showing data that mirrored national trends. 

Colorado conducted two data analyses to determine how effective the vaccine was, and both showed that fully vaccinated Coloradans were 93% to 95% protected against COVID-19. Since late January, there have been 819 cases among fully vaccinated people, compared with almost 107,000 cases among all Coloradans, Herlihy said. 

An analysis done the week of April 4 showed that one in every 7,000 vaccinated people reported a case of COVID-19, compared with one in 387 unvaccinated people.

“The vaccine is working as it is supposed to here in Colorado,” Polis said. “It’s absolutely remarkable to see the progress that’s being made.”

As officials urge people who have been holding out to be vaccinated, Colorado has seen its highest case numbers since late January. Herlihy said case numbers have begun to stabilize over the past few days and it’s too early to tell if the trend will remain low.

Hospitalizations in the state have increased over the past few weeks, and Herlihy said there’s no indication of those numbers stabilizing. Herlihy and Polis asked younger people to continue wearing a mask and distancing until fully vaccinated because people under 60 are currently making up the majority of hospitalizations.

More:Colorado has phased out its COVID dial. Here’s what you can expect in Larimer County

“These hospitalizations that we’re seeing among younger individuals are just a reminder to us that we can see severe disease that requires hospitalization among younger populations,” Herlihy said. 

Polis reminded Coloradans that all three vaccines are effective against all variants currently in the state and said he expects the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will likely be available again next week. 

Related:COVID-19 vaccine appointments still available in Colorado after Johnson & Johnson pause

Until the state reaches herd immunity, which Polis said is between 70% and 80% of people being fully vaccinated, people should continue to wear masks and distance, he said.

“We all want to experience the end of this pandemic, and the sooner that we can achieve the vaccination levels so that the virus has no place to go, no place to spread, the sooner we can get back to normal,” he said. 

Walk-up or drive-up vaccination sites on the Front Range

The Ranch events complex, Loveland, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. You can also sign up at larimerhealth.secure.force.com/Vaccine.

Colorado State Fairgrounds, Pueblo, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Mondays. You can also sign up at centura.org/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine-information/vaccine-events.

Ball Arena, Denver, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. You can also sign up at primarybio.com/r/truecare24-cdphe.

Molly Bohannon covers education for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter @molboha or contact her at mbohannon@coloradoan.com. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.