Colorado to see 30% reduction in second shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

Colorado’s second allocation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will contain nearly 30% fewer doses than originally expected, state officials confirmed Friday.

The state earlier this week received its first shipment of 46,800 doses from Pfizer, and began vaccinating frontline health care workers around the state.

A second shipment of 56,550 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was expected Friday, but state officials say the federal Operation Warp Speed program reduced that to 39,780 doses.

It wasn’t immediately clear when that reduced shipment will arrive

Of those nearly 40,000 doses, 25,740 will be transferred to the Center for Disease Control Pharmacy Partnership Program to vaccinate residents and staff at Colorado’s skilled nursing facilities and 14,040 will be assigned to medical providers, the State Joint Information Center said.

As of Thursday evening, 11,016 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had been administered to health care workers across Colorado, a figure that is likely low because medical providers have 72 hours to report their vaccination activity to the state.

Colorado is not the only state to feel the shortfall, which comes as public health officials have realized the Pfizer vaccine contains six doses per vial instead of the five that the Food and Drug Administration originally announced.

In recent days, governors and health leaders in more than a dozen states have said the federal government has told them that next week’s shipment of the Pfizer vaccine will be less than originally projected. Little explanation was offered, leaving many state officials perplexed.

“This is disruptive and frustrating,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter on Thursday after learning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the state’s allocation would be cut by 40%. “We need accurate, predictable numbers to plan and ensure on-the-ground success.”

The Colorado State Joint Information Center said in an email that, currently, the CDC is telling the state on a week-by-week basis what to expect through Operation Warp Speed.

“OWS is changing their approach so that we get the same allocation each week,” state officials said. “If additional doses become available, OWS will distribute those additional doses periodically. “

Once Moderna receives its anticipated FDA emergency use approval, Colorado still expects to receive 95,600 doses of that vaccine next week, as originally planned.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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