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State vaccine sites adjust to new CDC Booster shot recommendations

As recommendations change, more people become eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

COLORADO, USA — A job as a traffic coordinator for the state gave Laura Wright new meaning this year. 

"I like to deal with people," she said. "When you meet someone that's nice and you can help them in any way you can it restores a little faith faith in humanity."

Wright is the first person people encounter at the state vaccine site in the Aurora Municipal Center parking lot. 

"Which one are you looking to get?" She asks a couple driving through. 

With each car, she sees another person who feels a little safer. 

"Some of them just want the vaccine because they have to travel," she said. Some of [them], they just promised a family member that they would go and get the vaccine, so the stories vary with each person that drives through."

But she can't give everyone that extra feeling of safety. 

One couple who drove through were looking to get a booster shot of the Moderna. They are both immunocompromised and would qualify under FDA emergency use authorizations, except it hasn't been six months since they received their second dose. 

"But you can come back," Wright told them. 

On Wright's clipboard, she keeps track of who is allowed which shot and when. 

"And it's pretty much changed every day so I've had to um re-write my paper to get ready for every day," she laughed. "We had  a lot of people coming that wanted that booster shot and we had to send [them] away so it's [going to] take a day or so before they realize that they can come and get the shot, 65 and older, so when that happens we're expecting quite the flow." 

On Friday morning, the CDC cleared the way for 60 million people to get their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine six months after their second shot.

RELATED: US booster shots start, even as millions remain unprotected

That guidance applies to people 65 and up and people who are frequently exposed to COVID at work who are 18-64. 

"Ladies I have a Pfizer booster shot coming your way," radioed Wright to the nurses at the vaccine site after someone eligible passed through. 

The CDC guidance that people at "increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot" did not specify which industries or people fall under that category.

The spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Corrections, Annie Skinner, provided the following statement in response to whether or not the booster shots would be available to inmates.  

"Our medical team is currently reviewing inmate information to determine who meets the criteria to be eligible for the booster shot under the current CDC and FDA guidelines. Once we complete that analysis we will make the third shot or the booster shot available to those who meet the criteria. We will obviously continue to monitor this for both staff and incarcerated people as any new guidelines are provided by the CDC and FDA. It is also important to note that the vast majority of our staff and incarcerated population have received the Moderna vaccine series, so that will also affect the appropriate protocols."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said it's up to individuals to self-report. 

"Most Coloradans who received their first two Pfizer doses six months or more ago are eligible because at that time we were vaccinating health care workers, teachers and other frontline workers," wrote a CDPHE spokesperson in an email. "We encourage anyone who is unsure about their decision to get a booster dose to consult with a medical professional." 

While this CDC guidance currently only applies to the Pfizer vaccine, the CDC said they would evaluate data for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the coming weeks. 

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RELATED: US booster shots start, even as millions remain unprotected


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