Colorado released school-level COVID vaccination data Friday in a new dashboard that shows wide variations across the state and within communities.
At Palisade High School in Mesa County, only 32% of students are fully vaccinated against COVID, compared to 76% at Legacy High School in Adams District 12 Five Star Schools in suburban Denver and 82% at Boulder High School.
In Denver, Bromwell Elementary, which serves a more affluent population in southeast Denver, has 65% of its students fully immunized, while at Barnum Elementary, which serves a more working-class student body in west Denver, only 23% are. Many rural elementary schools have single-digit vaccination rates.
The differences reflect how interest in, access to, and skepticism of COVID-19 vaccines have played out along political and socio-economic lines. In general, older children are more likely to be vaccinated than younger ones, and parents of younger children expressed more reluctance to get vaccinated. Medical experts say the vaccine provides protection for all age groups and children should be vaccinated to reduce their risk of serious illness.
Statewide, 34% of children ages 5 to 11 and 62% of those ages 12 to 17 have received two doses of a COVID vaccine. About 32% of older children received the recommended booster dose for added protection.
That’s above the national average, but below what Colorado public health officials would like it to be. Schools are increasingly reliant on vaccinations to limit the spread of COVID in classrooms as masks, quarantine and other mitigation measures have been phased out.
COVID vaccinations are not required for school attendance in Colorado, and most schools have not collected vaccination information from families. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment compiled the database by cross-referencing state immunization data with student data from the Colorado Department of Education. Officials said the analysis was done in a way to protect student privacy and the numbers are only reported in aggregate.
The dashboard, which shows the percentage of students who received one, two or three doses, will be updated weekly.