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Breaking down the guidance for booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) sent out a release saying they'll text Coloradans eligible for a booster shot.

DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis got his third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Denver Health on Friday, echoing his message about getting booster shots that has stayed largely consistent.

"We're not going to be done with this pandemic and the individual risk won't go away until more people get vaccinated," Polis said in an interview after getting his booster shot. 

But there have been a few differences between what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says for guidance on boosters, and what state health leaders have said. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) sent out a release saying they'll text Coloradans eligible for a booster shot.

In the release, CDPHE listed those who are eligible as 

  • People 18+ and at least six months past their Pfizer or Moderna series
  • People 18+ and at least two months past their initial J&J dose

This follows the CDC's most recent guidance for those who got Johnson & Johnson for their initial COVID-19 vaccine dose. 

But it's broader than the guidance on Pfizer and Moderna, which only lists:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings

"The CDC’s authorization last night gives the green light for a booster across a wide swath of the population. The state has no way of knowing if people work in high-risk settings or have underlying medical history, so we are alerting everyone within the eligibility timeline," a CDPHE spokesperson said in a statement Friday night.

That spokesperson said they're ready to offer boosters to any Coloradans six months past their second dose, and noted that six months ago was toward the beginning of phase two of the state's vaccine rollout plan. 

"People who originally received the Moderna vaccine may get a booster dose approximately six months or more after they received their second dose of vaccine. People who originally received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may get a booster dose approximately two months or more after their single dose," the statement read. 

The statement said the state has ample inventory to offer booster doses to those who are eligible while continuing to provide first and second doses to people completing their initial vaccine series. 

Credit: Foster Gaines
Governor Polis before getting his COVID-19 vaccine.

The state also said eligible Coloradans can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine or booster at any of the thousands of vaccine providers across the state or at one of the state’s mobile vaccination clinics. CDPHE said no insurance, identification, proof of residency, or proof of medical history is required.

"Teachers, first responders, work in a retail store, working in an office environment where your cubicle's near other people and you're going in, you want the safety that this third dose can provide. I work around other people every day. I'm really will be relieved to have this level of protection," Polis said Friday. 

9Health expert Dr. Payal Kohli was asked Friday about guidance for those that may not fall under the CDC's qualifications for Pfizer or Moderna. 

“I would say go and get it. Assuming a few caveats are met. Number one, that you’ve had enough time since your second shot. So you don’t want to go and get it right away, because it’s really not going to do much. Number two, you didn’t really have any adverse reactions to the first two shots. Because if you’ve had an adverse reaction, then you may want to talk to your doctor if you’re not in those high-risk groups, to go and get it," she said. 

She added that her recommendation for those who got Johnson & Johnson first, is to get an mRNA vaccine for the follow-up doses. 

Watch the full interview here


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