By Kati Weis

DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis has revised his three phase plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in Colorado. Phase 1B of the plan will now allow frontline essential workers in education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, U.S. Postal Service, public transit, and homeless shelter staff members to receive the vaccine before people in Phase 2. Frontline journalists working in the field are also included in Phase 1B, but not journalists who work primarily from home.

Workers serving in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government are also now included in Phase 1B.

“We value continuity of government,” Polis said in a news conference Wednesday morning announcing the changes. “That was identified also by the CDC for the coronavirus response, we need a legislature, we need our officers, this is a critical part of the coronavirus response, because it is the funding mechanism for the entire coronavirus response.”

Phase 1B will also include people ages 70 and older, and people ages 60-69 are in Phase 2. Previously, all people 65 and older were included in Phase 2.

(credit: CDPHE)

Also in Phase 2 are people ages 16 to 64 with preexisting conditions, people serving in local government, and adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Phase 3 is the rest of the general public.

Polis says the majority of the state has completed Phase 1A, and expects Phase 1B to be completed by early spring, and Phase 2 to begin in the late spring. Phase 3 will start this summer.

“I’m really looking forward to the day where everyone who wants a vaccine can get it, and we can embrace our loved ones again,” Polis said.

The governor’s office released this statement to CBS4 on Wednesday afternoon to clarify Polis’ statements, “We expect that we will get through the majority of phase 1A by January 15th and as we get closer to that date will be able to provide more information for Coloradans on next steps.”

Last week, CBS4 reported about the Colorado Democratic Black Caucus urging the governor to include inmates in a type of Phase 2B prioritization. In the Wednesday announcement, Polis did not include inmates in vaccine prioritization. As it stands, inmates will continue to be included in Phase 3 with the rest of the public.

CBS4 has asked the governor’s office for a comment about the push for a prioritization of vaccines for inmates, but has not yet received a response.

Kati Weis