The health department will continue to vaccinate in Phases 1a and 1b until that market is saturated. We also encourage all area COVID-19 vaccine providers to do the same. When we start having difficulty filling our appointment slots, we will move into Phase 1c, those 60 and older. We will continue to vaccinate those who are 60 and older until we have difficulty filling those appointment slots. Then we will open up to the other groups in 1c.
Why? Because from a public health perspective, this is the best course of action. Approximately 73% of our deaths from COVID-19 occur in the 70 and older population. Approximately 50% of our hospitalizations also occur in that group. When we include the 60 and older population, this accounts for approximately 91% of our area COVID-19 deaths and 74% of our area COVID-19 hospitalizations.
We know everyone is anxious to get the vaccine as soon as possible, but please do not try to push ahead of the groups that are the most likely to die or to be hospitalized. We will get to everyone who wants a shot just as soon as we can, but we will use the best public health, outcomes focused strategy to do so. We greatly appreciate your understanding and patience. Please watch our Daily Brief for additional information.
Also, with the amount of vaccine coming into our district, we are probably 4 to 8 weeks away from working through the 60 and plus population. Give or take a week or two.