Colorado’s public health department this week ordered the state’s first batch of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, requesting from the federal government a shipment of 46,800 doses.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is meeting Dec. 10 to consider an emergency use authorization for the vaccine. If it’s approved, Pfizer plans to ship the first doses to states within 24 hours, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s announcement Friday.
The health department made the order for the vaccine on Thursday.
“The availability of a COVID-19 vaccine is a major turning point in this pandemic, and we will act as swiftly as possible to get it distributed once it is approved,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Department of Public Health and Environment, in a statement.
Under Colorado’s draft vaccine-distribution plan, the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will go to hospital workers, including at long-term care facilities. Health care workers and residents in nursing homes also are considered a high priority. Colorado’s first batch won’t cover the roughly 331,533 people considered the highest priority under the state’s vaccination plan.
Any COVID-19 vaccine approved by federal regulators is expected to be in short supply, with state and federal officials saying it will take at least until the spring before they begin to distribute doses to the general public.
Earlier this week, local public health officials said they expected Colorado to receive the first batch of vaccines between Dec. 11 and 14.
Previously, the Tri-County Health Department, which serves Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, said it had been informed by state health officials that Colorado was expected to receive between 47,000 to 150,000 doses in the initial shipment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will allocate vaccine doses based on population, and state officials expect to receive 1.69% of the available vaccine in weekly batches.
Colorado health officials plan to start administering the Pfizer shots after the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes its recommendations for vaccine use, according to a state news release.
State officials plans to keep confidential information about the location of the ultra-cold storage sites needed for the Pfizer vaccine, citing security and safety concerns.