Josiah Jansen, who works in the pharmacy at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver, holds up a vial of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The federal government has told Colorado it will receive thousands fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in a second shipment than originally expected, although the state anticipates the numbers contained in future shipments will be standardized, Colorado’s health department says.


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Colorado had expected to receive 56,550 Pfizer doses on Friday after getting an initial 46,800 doses on Monday. Operation Warp Speed officials informed the state that Colorado’s next Pfizer allocation is expected to be 39,780 doses, a difference of 16,720, the Department of Health and Environment said in a statement.

Health officials say the impact is lessened because each vaccine vial provides six doses rather than five as originally anticipated — allowing a 20% increase in vaccinations.

With the second allocation, 25,740 vials will go to a pharmacy partnership to support vaccinations at skilled nursing facilities. The remaining 14,040 are being assigned to health care providers.

Federal officials say that moving forward, Colorado will get similar shipments each week. The state still expects getting 95,600 Moderna vaccine doses next week.

Other states have been told to expect fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine in its second week of distribution, prompting worries about potential delays in shots for health care workers and long-term care residents.

The Associated Press