Coloradans waiting to receive COVID-19 vaccines share concerns over expanded eligibility for vaccine rollout

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DENVER — On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis unveiled that access to the COVID-19 vaccine would be expanded beginning Feb. 8, leaving some Coloradans still waiting to receive the vaccine concerned.

“I want all the people who are 70 and older vaccinated before the rest of us, before me.” Marti Demarest said.

Demarest was one of several people who emailed Denver7 following Polis’ Friday announcement.

“Can you make sure that everybody over 70 is vaccinated before you open it up to younger?” Demarest said while holding back tears.

Since December, Demarest said she’s been trying to get her 91-year-old father a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It makes me angry, very frustrated, because my husband is signed up for a vaccine on Sunday with UCHealth, but I can’t get my dad,” Demarest said. “I look at King Soopers, and Safeway, SEL Health Clinic, Banner, UCHealth and Kaiser every day, but I can’t get any information back as to where he is on a list, and that’s been the frustrating part.”

The expanded access will begin Feb. 8 and will include all Coloradans ages 65-69, educators and childcare workers.

The state is still working to vaccine at least 70% of 70-and-up residents by the end of February, Polis said Friday. In response to questions about the expanded eligibility and how it would impact those currently waiting for the vaccine, Polis said vaccine distribution must be expanded to utilize supply.

“It’s really important to open it up before you get to 70%. If you wait that long, you’re going to have a two or three week period where you’re just not administering as many doses as you get because there’s not enough people you find who meet that rigid criteria to do it,” Polis said.

He also added by the the time eligibility expands, the state hopes to have at least half of Colorado’s 70-and-older population vaccinated.

“Some are still signed up and waiting. If you are 70-an-up, you have friends, parents, loved ones, who are — they will get that in the next few weeks,” Polis said.

The Governor’s Office referred Denver7 to this document of additional questions they’ve received about the new timeline.

Demarest said she’s trying to stay optimistic about her dad receiving a vaccine.

“I’m not going to take one before my dad gets one at all,” Demarest said.