Polis OKs COVID booster shots for all Colo. adults

Action comes amid 'significant wave of disease spread'

Kyle Cooke
Rocky Mountain PBS
Posted 11/12/21

Gov. Jared Polis has signed an executive order allowing any fully vaccinated Colorado adult to receive a COVID-19 booster shot. “The health and safety of Coloradans has been my top priority …

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Polis OKs COVID booster shots for all Colo. adults

Action comes amid 'significant wave of disease spread'

Posted

Gov. Jared Polis has signed an executive order allowing any fully vaccinated Colorado adult to receive a COVID-19 booster shot.

“The health and safety of Coloradans has been my top priority throughout this global pandemic. We want to ensure that Coloradans have every tool they need to protect themselves from this deadly virus and to help reduce the stress on our hospitals and health care workers,” Polis said in a Nov. 10 news release. “Every Coloradan is now eligible to get the booster so they can protect themselves and their families. I was relieved to get the booster two weeks ago, and strongly encourage you to get it too.”

To be eligible for a booster shot in Colorado, you must be at least 18 years old and six months past your second dose of either the Pizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you must wait at least two months for your booster.

In the executive order, Polis wrote boosters are necessary because "the entire State of Colorado is in a significant wave of disease spread."

"With an estimated 1 in 67 Coloradans infected," the order reads, "it is likely that nearly all Coloradans are exposed to COVID-19 where they live or work."

Earlier, Dr. Eric France, the chief medical officer with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, encouraged eligible Coloradans to get their booster, saying it will “keep your immunity up and help keep you out of the hospital.”

But France’s statement was based on CDC guidance, which says people should only get boosters if they are 65 or older, have underlying medical conditions or work/live in a high-risk setting. The new executive order from Polis opens boosters to all adults, not just those who fit in the categories listed above.

Polis’ executive order comes at a time when Colorado is seeing near-record COVID-19 hospitalizations. More than 1,400 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado, according to the latest data.
That is the second-highest figure since hospitalizations peaked in December 2020, before the delta variant emerged and before the vaccine was widely available. Currently, about 80% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.

Hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. On Nov. 9, the state activated the “crisis standards of care” to help with hospital staffing.

“Activating staffing crisis standards of care allows health care systems to maximize the care they can provide in their communities with the staff they have available,” France said in a statement.

Dr. Ivor Douglas, the chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Denver Health, spoke with PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz recently about the worrying trends in Colorado.

“At the end of the day, we have to preserve our workforce,” Douglas said, speaking about the crisis standard of care. “While we're committed to the care of every patient, we have lost large numbers of highly expert and professional people. It's true we're tired, but, at the same time, we have got to be there for tomorrow's patients as well. And if we burn through everybody, there is no future and there is no cavalry coming. So we have got to do this in an affordable, careful way.”

Asked why Colorado is having such a hard time with COVID-19, despite being 14th in the country in terms of vaccinated adults, Douglas said, “We don't really know.”

This story is from Rocky Mountain PBS, a nonprofit public broadcaster providing community stories across Colorado over the air and online. Used by permission. For more, and to support Rocky Mountain PBS, visit rmpbs.org.

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