The first doses of the CDC-approved COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are expected to arrive and be available in Colorado in the coming days.
Ahead of the shipments, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) launched an updated vaccine locator map on Tuesday as a resource to set up appointments for the 1-dose bivalent booster shot, which protects against both the original virus and omicron variants of COVID-19.
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Moderna’s dose is authorized for individuals aged 18 years and older while Pfizer’s dose is authorized for people 12 years and older. The booster is available only to those who have completed their primary series of vaccines: 2 doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax, or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson.
“All viruses mutate over time, including the COVID-19 virus,” said Dr. Eric France, Chief Medical Officer for CDPHE, soon after CDC’s approval of the booster. “It is common practice to adapt vaccines to target new strains of a virus, as we do every year with the flu vaccine. These omicron doses have been formulated to protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants dominant in the United States and Colorado right now.”
The map resource is available in 8 languages including English for people to receive the most up-to-date guidance on COVID vaccination and scheduling appointments. It outlines the locations where Coloradans can receive the age-specific vaccines relevant to their eligibility.
Booster doses will be available at primary care and public health clinics throughout the state, including large retail pharmacies, community and mobile vaccination sites.
“As we continue to navigate the endemic phase of COVID-19, we have been consistent in our messaging that vaccinations and boosters are the way for our Denver community to stay as safe as possible,” said Bob McDonald, Executive Director of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE). “This updated vaccine is an additional tool to use to stay protected. As we head into fall, we expect to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, as is typical for respiratory illnesses. Getting the approved bivalent vaccine is essential in staying protected from the newer variants of COVID-19.”
DDPHE is strongly urging the public to receive the booster dose if eligible to protect against getting sick. State health officials will be closely monitoring the rate of community spread and hospitalizations this fall and winter season, as another surge may be likely.
“The updated vaccines use the same technology as the vaccines that hundreds of millions of people have safely received,” added Diana Herrero, Deputy Director of the Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response for CDPHE. “This is the safest and most effective way to get the best protection in time for the fall and winter.”