Governor Polis, State Officials Discusses COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Provide Update on Response to the Pandemic

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Colorado Successfully Completes Vaccine Dry Run Exercise

COLORADO — Today, Governor Polis and state officials discussed the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and provided an update on the response to the pandemic. Gov. Polis was joined by Scott Bookman, Incident Commander for the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment; Brigadier General Scott Sherman, Dir. of Joint Vaccine Task Force, Colorado National Guard; and Joni Reynolds, Gunnison County Public Health Director. 

“The focus of this plan is to save lives and end the crisis as soon as possible. Which means prioritizing our most at-risk health care workers and individuals. Our state has been carefully planning this process, working closely with local public health agencies and engaging with providers and communities to prepare for the day when the vaccine would be approved for distribution and arrive in Colorado,” said Gov. Polis. “This vaccine is the gateway to a life without this crisis, but it will take time until everyone can access it because of the limited supply of vaccines so we must continue to do what we know works to slow the spread of the virus.”

Scott Bookman, Incident Commander for CDPHE and Brigadier General Scott Sherman discussed vaccine distribution phases, and Joni Reynolds, Gunnison County Public Health Director provided local public health perspective on vaccine distribution and education.

Colorado is about 1.69% of the population of the U.S. and each week the state is expecting to receive 1.69% of the available vaccines. It will take careful planning and time to vaccinate Colorado’s nearly six million people. From a nationwide and worldwide perspective, distributing the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the biggest undertakings in history.

The majority of Phase 1 early recipients of the vaccine will receive it through their employer, local public health agency, or through the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program if they are residents of a long-term care center. More information about provider settings and options for Phase 2 and Phase 3 recipients will be coming soon. 

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Additionally, this week, the Colorado Unified Coordination Center completed an exercise to test its ability to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to a distribution facility from Denver International Airport. In a four-hour end-to-end exercise, the Pfizer vaccine arrived at Denver International Airport where it was loaded onto a secure vehicle and driven to Vail Health, one of several distribution centers across the state. The training allowed simultaneous trainings to take place:

  1. Colorado Unified Coordination Center, CDPHE and CDPS staff focused on the hand-to-hand transport of the vaccine, experiencing each logistical milestone. 
  2. The Unified Coordination Center conducted a tabletop exercise to game out problematic scenarios such as disruptions to transportation routes.