Overlooked By Colorado’s Vaccine Plan, Higher Education Teachers And Staff Wait Their Turn

As of now, most college workers will be eligible for vaccination in summer, when the state projects it will start Phase 3 of its distribution plan, as members of the general public — those ages 16-59. Some may qualify earlier under different criterias, like those with high risk conditions or those who received a placebo during a vaccine trial. 

CU spokesperson Jennifer McDuffie said in a press conference last month the university, which will receive vaccine doses from the state, is also unsure of when they will be allowed to vaccinate workers. 

“We are still waiting on guidance around educators from the state,” McDuffie said. “At CU, we do believe anyone who is in an in-class setting, that they are essential for our operations.”

Several nearby states differ from Colorado’s approach, and are grouping college workers with K-12 personnel. That list, being kept by the Boston University School of Public Health, includes California, Nevada, Nebraska, and Arizona. Other states like Oklahoma, Wyoming and Utah have higher education workers slated for a later vaccination date, like Colorado.

The Center for Disease Control recommended “teachers, support staff, and daycare workers” be eligible in Phase 1b, but did not specify if higher education is included in its guidance.

CPR News reporter Claire Cleveland contributed to this report.

Editor’s Note: A limited number of CPR News journalists have started to receive vaccinations according to the state’s prioritization of essential frontline workers.