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In Colorado, virus vaccine pecking order could put prisoners over seniors

One lesson of the pandemic is that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is an insufferable blowhard who refuses to see his failure to protect the elderly in his state, specifically senior citizens residing in nursing homes.

While Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has not been nearly as awful as his fellow Democrat in New York in dealing with COVID-19, he apparently has added a new wrinkle to dissing older folks, who overwhelmingly comprise the population subset most likely to die from the coronavirus.

With a vaccine on the horizon, states are beginning to submit to Washington their plans to prioritize who gets vaccinated. They intend to do it in phases, as the vaccine obviously will not be universally available and since not all demographic groups are equally susceptible to getting sick.

Polis’ administration notes this in its plan, as found on the state Health Department’s website.

“Because the initial supply of vaccines is expected to be very limited, COVID-19 vaccine(s) will not be immediately available to everyone who wants one,” it says. “Colorado’s draft plan for distribution outlines that this will happen in phases. The draft plan describes that the first phase may include people most at risk for COVID-19, such as health care workers, first responders, and staff/residents of long-term care facilities and nursing homes. The next stage may include people living in group settings, essential workers with a high level of interaction with other people, and higher risk populations more broadly. The final phase will likely be for the general population.”

While the language of the plan suggests seniors in nursing homes would rank near the top, a chart accompanying the plan indicates otherwise for people 65 or older who are not residents of congregant housing.

In fact, based on this draft, Colorado would prioritize prisoners over the elderly.

According to the chart, prisoners and college students living in dorms are part of Colorado’s Phase 2A, as are workers in group seettings, such as employed in grocery stores, schools and ski lodges.

Adults over 65 and those with certain underlying health conditions, which is a factor that significantly boosts one’s vulnerability to COVID, would be immunized when Colorado reaches Phase 2B.

The plan indicates that some SJW thinking influenced how state health authorities worked this out.

“Everyone is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way. But the burdens of the pandemic are not being experienced equally by all people,” the plan says.

“Colorado’s plan for distributing the vaccine considers systemic inequities that the virus has exploited. Prioritization accounts for social risk factors (such as working frontline jobs in close contact environments, less ability to work from home, and living in multi-generation or multi-family homes) that make some individuals more vulnerable to COVID-19. We have involved, and will continue to involve, communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in our planning and implementation plans.”

Denver Post columnist George Brauchler, who noted his father is 78, likely spoke for many with his take on the Polis plan: “What in the hell is Gov. Polis doing?” he wrote.

“In the current plan, Polis elevates imprisoned pedophiles and career criminals above grandparents and adults with lung and heart disease. Two weeks ago, Polis went hyperbolically metaphoric in likening those who dared to have an extended family Thanksgiving during the COVID as ‘bringing a loaded pistol to Grandma’s head.’ Ironically Polis would give the life-saving vaccine to a person who puts a loaded gun to grandma’s head before he would give it to grandma.”

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