A Pandemic of the Unvaccinated: Colorado Health Officials Urge Citizens to Get Vaccinated

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October 11, 2021

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(DENVER)  Colorado is having a “pandemic of the unvaccinated“, Scott Bookman of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said on a call with reporters on Sept. 23.  Additionally, COVID-19 cases in children ages 6 to 11 is currently at its highest in the state.  

“82% of Coloradans who are currently hospitalized are unvaccinated,” Bookman, COVID-19 Incident Commander of CDPHE, said on the call.

CO hospitalisation data

Colorado hospitalization data as of Sept. 24. [Credit: CDPHE]

While COVID-19 continues to ravage unvaccinated residents, overall, Colorado currently has the sixth lowest case rate per capita in the nation, according to Colorado Governor, Jared Polis. Data from CDPHE shows that 76.32% (3.76M) of Coloradans have received their first dose of vaccine, of which 69.94% (3.68M) are fully vaccinated.  According to CDC data, Colorado is in the top 20 of the highest first dose vaccination rate nationally.  

At the same time,  case rates in Colorado for children aged 6 to 11, who are ineligible for vaccination, are currently at its highest, according to Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist. These numbers are  consistent with the latest nationwide data trend from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), also released at the end of September.

US pediatric hospitalization rate

U.S. Pediatric hospitalization rate as of Sept. 18, 2021. [Credit: CDC]

Analysis from the CDC shows that Colorado higher vaccination rates in counties are correlated with lower case rates among children aged 12 to 17.  Another analysis indicates that case rates are lower for children in areas where school districts mandate masks.  

Colorado state employees were mandated to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 20.  The Colorado State Board of Health is also requiring healthcare workers to have received their first vaccine dose by Sept. 30 and second one  by Oct. 31.  Unvaccinated individuals are required to participate in regular testing until further notice.  

In Denver, city employees and those in the private sector working in high risk settings, such as schools and nursing homes, must be vaccinated by Sept. 30, afterwhich unvaccinated employees will no longer be allowed to work on the premises.  

The vaccine is currently available at 1,673 private clinics, pharmacies and urgent care facilities.  Four walk-in mobile sites are also operating in Aurora, Littleton, Colorado Springs and Commerce City.  To find the latest information and closest location, please visit covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.

Colorado is currently in its fifth peak of the pandemic based on hospitalization data, according to a recent report released by the Colorado COVID-19 Modeling Group.

National hospitalization projection Jan. 2022

National hospitalization numbers projected through Jan. 2022. [Credit: Colorado Covid-19 Modeling Group]

“[The vaccine] is the ticket that we have now to ending this pandemic, allowing us to return to the Colorado life that we love,” said Bookman on the call.

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