Colorado has thousands of COVID vaccines that will expire soon. They could go to a country that wants them.
DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said Wednesday that 352,533 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the state will expire in the next two months as vaccination rates drop in the state.
Gov. Jared Polis told reporters that he remains confident that state providers will be able to deliver all of those doses before their expiration date. And the state’s chief of immunization agreed.
“If we continue vaccination at the current rate, we will be on track to exceed that supply,” said Heather Roth, chief of the immunization branch at CDPHE.
Roth said 237,000 Coloradans have yet to get their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
“What we’re doing is making sure we have enough supply available here in Colorado to meet the second dose obligation,” Roth said.
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Although it is still unknown how many of those people actually need a second dose. Of the 237,000 people, Roth said that roughly 90,000 are still within the allotted 42-day window between takes. The other 147,000 are beyond that 42-day window. Roth said they could have been vaccinated with one dose in another state or chose not to receive their second injection.
Colorado hasn’t ordered a weekly federal government vaccine allocation since mid-June, based solely on the available supply. Roth said that with current demand, he doesn’t anticipate an order any time soon.
“We have a sufficient supply of vaccines in [the] affirm that we are fulfilling the orders of suppliers that arrive to us weekly with supplies that are already in the state and we have been doing it for several weeks in a row, “he said.
Polis believes that current publicity efforts will prompt the state to vaccinate at least enough people to use those doses. On Wednesday, he announced more incentives for people to get vaccinated, including $ 100 gift cards to Walmart for people who are vaccinated at certain vaccine sites across the state and scholarships for community college students who have been vaccinated.
“We are always hopeful that the FDA will verify that they do, in fact, last longer than what is originally stated on the label,” the governor said.
But if the doses are not used before they expire, they could be sent back to the federal government for distribution abroad, according to Polis.
“Of course we want to do our part and if there are other areas of the world and our government can contribute to them abroad, we as Coloradans support it,” he said.
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