More Coloradans will now be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B.4, which begins Friday (Mar. 19).

According to state health officials, people 50 or older will be among those now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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The new phase is expected to vaccinate about 2.5 million more Coloradans.

The following groups are among those eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1B.4:

  • People 50 and older
  • Student-facing higher education faculty and staff
  • Frontline essential workers in food/restaurant services, manufacturing, U.S. Postal Service, public transit and specialized transportation, public health and human services
  • Faith leaders
  • Direct care providers for people experiencing homelessness
  • Frontline essential journalists
  • Continuity of local government
  • Continuation of operations for state government
  • Adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial
  • People 16-49 with one high-risk health condition

In addition, those that have the following high-risk health conditions also qualify to get the vaccine:

  • Cancer that required treatment in the last month
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes (other than gestational diabetes)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart failure, cardiomyopathies, coronary heart disease, or severe heart defects since birth
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • An organ transplant
  • Disabilities that require home care
  • Disabilities that prevent mask-wearing
  • Moderate or severe asthma
  • Cerebrovascular disease (conditions that affect the brain’s blood supply)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system due to a bone marrow transplant, immune-suppressing medications, or other causes
  • HIV
  • Neurologic conditions, including dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (damaged or scarred lungs)
  • Thalassemia (genetic disorder with abnormal red blood cells, which carry oxygen)

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), over 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have already been both distributed and administered across the state; over 791,000 Coloradans are considered fully immunized.

Check out where and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Fort Collins here.

The NoCo Virus Tracker articles are made possible by our partners, the Keep NoCo Open campaign that reminds citizens to wear a mask, wash your hands, physically distance and support local as Northern Colorado recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.