Feb. 18: This story has been updated with information about the location of the vaccination site.
Denver will open its first COVID-19 vaccine site on Feb. 18, Mayor Michael Hancock said.
The site will open at the Montbello Recreation Center (find more information about signing up for a vaccine here). Other sites — in the northeast, western and southwestern parts of the city — will open shortly thereafter.
The city chose the predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood to target demographics Hancock said have traditionally been underserved, especially during the pandemic. Data released by Denver Public Health in January showed wealthier and whiter neighborhoods had higher vaccination rates for people aged 70 and older.
“Setting up static or permanent sites is going to be critically important to us, where residents can predict and can expect that these sites are there for themselves as we get through the various levels of vaccinations,” Hancock said.
The state recently revised the first phase of its vaccine distribution plan to include people ages 65 to 69, teachers, child care workers and some government workers. City public health executive director Bob McDonald said people in these categories will be able to register to get shots at the city’s community sites. He said more information about the sites will be released next week.
McDonald said vaccines are still in short supply. While the city has requested more dosages, it’s the state that decides where the vaccines go. McDonald said there are about 70 private COVID-19 vaccine providers in Denver, including pharmacies.
Almost 10 percent of Denver residents have received an initial COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 4.5 percent have received a second dose. Statewide, 9.7 percent of residents have received an initial dose, and 3.9 percent have gotten a second dose.
Denver’s cumulative case rate has been trending down since mid-January, after a post-holiday spike. The city’s two-week average positivity is 3.6 percent, while McDonald said hospitalizations and ICU capacity are stable. Last week, Denver cut back some of its COVID-19 restrictions.
During the press conference Thursday, Hancock said Denver is still waiting to be reimbursed from FEMA for its pandemic response. He said the federal government owes Denver “tens of millions of dollars.”
“This has been too slow and too long,” he added.