Clock ticking on getting more Colorado teens vaccinated against COVID-19 before school starts |

Clock ticking on getting more Colorado teens vaccinated against COVID-19 before school starts

Jessica Seaman and John Aguilar
The Denver Post
Kate Seneshen, (left), age 17 and Lily Lemme, (right), age 17 pose for a portrait at Lemme's home on Friday, July 16. The two teens started a nonprofit called Colorado Teens for Vaccines encouraging other teens to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Photo by Eric Lutzens / The Denver Post

DENVER — With the school year starting next month, time is running out for Colorado teenagers to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to class — a move that public health experts said could help maintain in-person learning even with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Colorado’s vaccination rate among teenagers is higher than the national rate, but the state is experiencing a slowdown in overall COVID-19 immunizations and is facing a looming threat from the highly contagious delta variant.

Several Colorado school districts said they will encourage students to get inoculated against the virus, but they stopped short of mandating the shots for the upcoming academic year.

“We really have this critical one- to two-week timeframe where if people are going to get vaccinated, now is the time to do it to get them fully protected in time for school to start,” said Christine Billings, head of the office of pandemic response for Jefferson County Public Health.

About 45% of Coloradans between the ages of 12 and 17 — 200,205 people — have received at least one dose of the vaccine. By comparison, just over 30% of Americans between 12 to 15 have received one dose, according to state and federal data.

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