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Boulder County on Thursday reached a landmark goal with 70% of the eligible population now vaccinated with at least one course of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is a very important milestone for the entire community, so we can return to doing the things we love the most,” said Indira Gujral, BCPH communicable disease and emergency management division manager, in an email. “We can see and hug our loved ones. COVID-19 has changed our lives and in this past year we have adapted to many changes. We are thankful to each individual who decided to get vaccinated, and we encourage those who have not received a vaccine to make an appointment today and help us get to our next milestone.”

Boulder County is one of three counties, which includes Broomfield and Jefferson, leading the way in vaccinations in Colorado, said BCPH Spokeswoman Angela Simental in an email. About 73.6% of eligible residents in Broomfield have received at least one vaccine dose, 70% in Boulder and 68.6% in Jefferson County. More than half, or 57.2%, of Boulder County residents eligible for the vaccination have received the full course.

“Boulder County is the first of the large metro Denver counties to reach this goal,” Gujral wrote. “We are excited that Jefferson County will soon reach this milestone and Broomfield has reached this milestone, too. We know that what happens in one of our counties impacts all of our counties, so we work collaboratively to strategize on how we can all meet this milestone.”

Since March 30 BCPH has offered 46 vaccination clinics with the help of about 2,300 volunteers, who supported 35 full-time staff and helped with traffic and parking control, prescreening, registration, vaccination, vaccine support, logistical support and client observation, according to a news release from Boulder County Public Health.

It has been both Gov. Jared Polis and BCPH’s goal to get 70% of the eligible population vaccinated since the vaccine rollout first began, said Chris Urbina, Boulder County Public Health medical officer, in an email. It is also a national goal to have 70% of the eligible population vaccinated with their first dose of the vaccine by July 4.

“This is a very important milestone for the entire community,” he wrote. “As more people are vaccinated, the virus has less of a chance to be transmitted. This will allow us to return to doing the things we love the most. We can see and hug our loved ones and visit with our friends with less risk of getting infected and becoming ill.”

Even with the high rate of people in Boulder County now vaccinated, the county has noticed a decline in demand for vaccinations in recent weeks, Urbina said.

“We hope people continue to vaccinate, and we will continue to work with our community ambassador organizations to reach those who have barriers in accessing the vaccine,” he wrote.

Urbina said science is ever-evolving when it comes to reaching herd immunity, which requires a significant portion of the population to be vaccinated.

“The changing virus (or variants) make reaching herd immunity challenging,” he wrote. “Every vaccination means we are able to protect those who are unvaccinated such as children under 12 years of age. We are excited to see that the 12- (to) 15-year-old population will now be eligible and their vaccinations will contribute to strong herd immunity.”