Who is going to get the first round of vaccines?

The first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine provided 46,800 vaccine doses. The first delivery of the Moderna vaccine provided 95,600 doses. These vaccines will go to health care workers who are treating COVID-19 patients. These workers have been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic and are directly exposed to COVID-19 as part of their job. Protecting the people who care for COVID-19 patients will help us save lives until the vaccine becomes widely available. 


How were the first locations to receive the first round of vaccines decided?

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), in close collaboration with local public health agencies across the state, identified 24 locations with ultra low temperature freezers to receive the first shipment of Pfizer's ultra cold vaccine. CDPHE has purchased and distributed an additional 10 ultra low temperature freezers. 

The identified locations across the state were chosen for their unique abilities to store, monitor, and handle vaccines in ultra-cold temperatures (-60°C to -80°C) as well as their willingness to redistribute COVID-19 vaccine(s) to other Phase 1 providers in their regions. The state also considered equitable geographic distribution as well as transportation logistics given expected winter conditions in the coming months.


Where do I get the vaccine?

The majority of early phase 1 recipients will receive the vaccine through their employer, local public health agency or through the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program.

More information about provider settings and options for phase 2 and phase 3 recipients will be coming soon. If you are among the people in phase 1A and are not receiving the vaccine through your employer, contact the vaccine distribution location nearest you for more information. For additional questions about where you can receive vaccine or who to contact in your community call COHELP (1-877-462-2911).


What types of COVID-19 vaccine(s) are available? Will I get to choose?

There are multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must authorize any vaccine before it will be available to Coloradans. The pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna applied for authorization through an Emergency Use Authorization. The FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine on December 11 and the Moderna vaccine on December 18. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the first to be distributed in the state. Other companies are still going through the clinical research process. Pfizer and Moderna report that both vaccines are around 95% effective. 

CDC provides detailed profiles for each available vaccine on their Different COVID-19 Vaccines page.  


How many doses or shots is the COVID-19 vaccine?

Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart, while the Moderna vaccine requires two doses 28 days apart. COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. The second dose of any COVID-19 vaccine must be completed with the same vaccine product as the first dose.


Do I have to get the second dose of the vaccine at the same location where I got my first dose?

We strongly recommend that you get both doses from the same vaccine provider. Because of limited vaccine supply, your vaccine provider will need to place the order for your second dose after administering your first dose. This process ensures that the state’s weekly allocation from the federal government will have enough second doses of the same vaccine product at the right time.

Note that the second dose of any COVID-19 vaccine must be the same vaccine product as the first dose.


When can my family and I get the vaccine?

After the FDA authorizes a vaccine and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes recommendations for its use, we expect it will take several months before everyone who wants one can get one because of limited availability. Prioritizing health care workers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic and are directly exposed to COVID-19 as part of their jobs will help us save lives in the next few months. 

Until the vaccine is widely available and used, it is important to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of the virus, like wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. Safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials is still needed before the vaccines are available for children under 16. Stay up to date about vaccine distribution in Colorado at covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.


Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Based on current knowledge, experts believe that mRNA vaccines (like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) are unlikely to pose a risk for pregnant or breastfeeding people or their babies. However, pregnant and breastfeeding people were not included in any of the clinical trials for currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines, therefore, no data is currently available on the safety of the vaccines in pregnant or breastfeeding people. If pregnant or breastfeeding people are part of a group that is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., health care workers), they may choose to be vaccinated. A conversation between the patient and... Read More


How do I get on a vaccine priority list?

To protect privacy and be able to scale the distribution process, the state does not have a priority vaccine list that people can get on. We expect vaccine providers and local public health agencies to follow the state’s phased prioritization guidelines.


How will I be notified when it’s my turn to receive the vaccine?

If you are in phase 1A or 1B and have not been notified by or received your vaccine through your employer, you can either try contacting a vaccine provider nearest you or wait for additional providers to come onboard in early January -- those providers will serve members of the 1A group first.


How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

Cost will not be an obstacle to getting the vaccine for Coloradans. Medicare, Medicaid, CHP+ and private insurance are required to cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, uninsured Coloradans will have access to free vaccines.


What should I do if I’m asked to pay for the vaccine?

Providers will not be allowed to turn away an individual because of their inability to pay or current medical coverage status. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance are required to cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccines. If you do not have health insurance, providers may seek reimbursement through the Provider Relief Fund administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).


Can I get COVID-19 from a vaccine?

A COVID-19 vaccine will give you protection against the disease without having to get sick with the actual virus. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from a vaccine, but it is possible to get symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19. The vaccine candidates use inactivated virus, parts of the virus (e.g., the spike protein), or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause COVID-19. The goal of the vaccine is to provide your body with the tools it needs to fight the COVID-19 virus if you were to get infected. 


Will I be protected from COVID-19 if I only receive the first dose?

It is very important to get both doses of the vaccine so that your body develops enough antibodies to fight the COVID-19 virus if you get infected at a later time.  Getting more than one dose for a vaccine is not unusual. In fact, it’s the norm. Many  routine vaccines require more than one dose for maximum protection. 


Will the vaccine still be effective if I wait more than a few weeks between my first and second doses?

It is very important that you receive the second dose of your COVID-19 vaccine on time.  The time frame between the vaccine’s first and second dose is determined by the companies producing the vaccine to maximize your body’s ability to create antibodies against the virus. Plan accordingly so that you are able to get the second dose of your vaccine at the right time.


Is there a non-injectable version of the vaccine?

While the first vaccines that will be available in the U.S. will be injectable vaccines, there are other COVID-19 vaccines in research and development that will use non-injectable delivery methods. The timing and effectiveness of these potential vaccines is not yet known.


Does the vaccine protect against all strains of COVID-19?

While there are several known variants of COVID-19, current evidence suggests the vaccine will protect against all of them. While experts are concerned about the recent mutations of the new coronavirus, they say it's not likely that vaccines will be rendered entirely ineffective as a result.


What are the side effects of the vaccines?

Most people who received the vaccines in clinical trials experienced mild to moderate side effects that typically went away on their own after a few days. The most commonly reported side effects for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site, pain, tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, nausea/vomiting, and fever for a few days after receiving the vaccine, with more pronounced discomfort after the second dose. The frequency and severity of side effects may vary between the two vaccines. Different people may experience different side effects, even if they receive the same vaccine.  The process of building immunity can cause symptoms. These symptoms are normal and show that your body’s immune system is responding to a vaccine. Other routine vaccines, like the flu vaccine, have similar side effects. If you experience discomfort after the first dose of the vaccine, it is very important that you still receive the second dose a few weeks later for full protection. For in-depth information about the side effects of the vaccines, see the CDC’s report on the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine.


Are there any serious side effects of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

Decades of vaccine research demonstrates that most serious side effects generally  occur within six weeks of administering a vaccine. For the COVID-19 vaccines, the FDA has required clinical trials to provide data from eight weeks of safety monitoring following the second dose before considering the authorization of a vaccine for public use. 

Because these are new vaccines, researchers will be learning more about rare side effects, if any, over the next year. To identify side effects that happen only very rarely (e.g., once in 50,000 doses), hundreds of thousands of people need to be vaccinated and followed over time. The FDA and CDC will continue to closely monitor vaccine safety as the public begins using a new vaccine.

Both agencies have both longstanding and new safety systems in place for heightened monitoring of all COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more about the vaccine safety monitoring systems.


Will the vaccine have any effect on fertility?

Because this is a new vaccine, researchers will be learning more about rare side effects, if any, over the next year. To identify side effects that happen only very rarely (e.g., once in 50,000 doses), hundreds of thousands of people need to be vaccinated and followed over time.


Can the vaccine cause an allergic reaction?

Although it is rare, the COVID-19 vaccines may cause mild allergic reactions in some people, like itching or rash. Extremely rarely, some people may have a severe allergic reaction like anaphylaxis.  People with a history of severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, to any component of a COVID-19 vaccine should not receive that vaccine.  People who have had severe allergic reactions to other vaccines in the past should use caution and talk with their health care provider before deciding whether or not to get vaccinated.  People with a history of severe allergic reactions unrelated to any vaccine may get... Read More


Can I get the vaccine if I am immunocompromised?

People living with HIV, other immunocompromising conditions, or who take immunosuppressive medications or therapies might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. There is currently not enough data to establish vaccine safety and efficacy in these groups.  People with stable HIV infection were included in phase 2/3 clinical trials, though data specific to this group are not yet available. 

Immunocompromised individuals may still receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they have no contraindications. However, they should have a conversation with their health care provider about the  unknown vaccine safety profile and effectiveness in immunocompromised populations, as well as the potential for reduced immune responses and the need to continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, they do not contain live virus and cannot give you COVID-19.


What would happen if a vaccine turned out to have serious side effects?

Science shows that generally the most serious side effects occur within six weeks of vaccine administration. The current available COVID-19 vaccines have been studied for longer than six weeks, and the companies have not identified or reported serious safety concerns.

To date, the independent safety monitoring board overseeing Phase 3 trials of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has not found any serious safety concerns. The FDA reviews all research before authorizing any vaccine for use.  The FDA and CDC will continue to closely monitor vaccine safety as the public begins using a new vaccine. If safety monitoring reveals new information about vaccine risks, such as new serious side effects, new guidelines may be issued or a vaccine may be removed from the market. Learn more about the vaccine safety monitoring systems.  


How much of my personal information will I need to share to get the vaccine?

Your privacy is a top priority, and your information won’t be used for anything other than vaccine distribution and follow-up information about the vaccine. Like other routine vaccinations, you will need to share some personal information with your vaccine provider when you get a COVID-19 vaccine. This may include your name, date of birth, and contact information. 

Sharing your identity and some of your medical history ensures that the vaccine is administered safely, effectively, and responsibly. Your immunization records are confidential, personal medical information, and public health will never share them publicly.  The state health department maintains the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS), a confidential, population-based, secure computerized system that collects and consolidates individual-level vaccine and exemption data for Coloradans of all ages from a variety of sources.

Health care providers have limited access to CIIS based on their need to input and access data for their patients. The state health department will submit daily, anonymous COVID-19 vaccine administration data to the CDC as required. No personally identifiable information will be shared with CDC like your name or full address.



Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to get a vaccine?

You do not need to be a U.S. citizen, and you will not need to prove lawful presence to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado. Further, public health will never share your information for any immigration or law enforcement purposes.


Do I still need to wear a mask and physical distance after receiving the vaccine?

It will take time after the vaccination for your body to respond and make enough antibodies to protect you. This could take up to one to two weeks after your last dose. 

Current info suggests that it is possible that someone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 may still have a mild or asymptomatic infection or spread the virus to others. So it is important to continue taking precautions. Continue wearing masks and practicing physical distancing until it is clear that it is safe to stop.


Do I need to quarantine from possible exposure if I have received two doses of the vaccine?

It could take up to one to two weeks after your last dose of the vaccine to have protection. After that time, because the vaccine has shown high effectiveness, we are hopeful that most people who have received two doses of the vaccine will not be required to quarantine, but we await further guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).


Do I need to quarantine from possible exposure between doses?

Yes, you should follow standard quarantine as advised by state and local public health officials if you are possibly exposed between doses of COVID-19 vaccine. It could take up to one to two weeks after your last dose of the vaccine to have protection.


Do I need to isolate if I develop COVID-19-like symptoms more than one to two weeks after getting the second dose of the vaccine?

Yes. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms more than one to two weeks after being fully vaccinated, you should isolate and contact your health care provider for instructions on whether to be tested for COVID-19 or other infections.


If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Data from Pfizer’s clinical trials suggest that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are likely safe and effective in people who have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends waiting at least 90 days after recovering from COVID-19 before getting the vaccine. It is currently unknown how long natural immunity lasts after recovering from COVID-19.  Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, and cases of reinfection have been reported.  The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes recommendations on how to best use COVID-19 vaccines, and the FDA authorizes use. We will allow for all permissible uses once they are authorized.


If I get vaccinated, is it possible for me to still get a milder form of COVID-19 than if I hadn’t been vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccines have gone through large clinical trials and have shown to be very effective in preventing symptoms of the disease. However, current information suggests it is possible that someone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 may still have a mild or asymptomatic infection or spread the virus to others. Until we know more, it is important to continue taking precautions, like wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, even after you have been vaccinated.


Should I take a test to see if I am infected before getting the vaccine?

The CDC does not recommend getting tested to see if you are infected before getting the vaccine. If you do not have any symptoms and have not been recently exposed to COVID-19, there is no need to get a test before deciding whether or not to get vaccinated.


How can I start to make a vaccine plan for myself and my family?

Being informed is the first part of making a plan. Get your information from reliable public health sources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and your local public health agency. When it’s your turn to get the vaccine, ask your primary care provider whether they plan to give the vaccine in their office or what they recommend for you based on your personal medical history.  You can learn more about COVID-19 at covid19.colorado.gov.


What if I am injured by the vaccine? Will I have to pay my own medical bills?

In very rare cases, a vaccine can cause a serious problem, such as a severe allergic reaction. COVID-19 vaccines are covered under the Countermeasure Injury Compensation Program (CICP), not the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) authorizes the CICP to provide benefits to certain individuals or estates of individuals who sustain a covered serious physical injury as the direct result of the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.


How can I participate in v-safe?

Once you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you can enroll in v-safe using your smartphone. Your healthcare provider will give you an information sheet on v-safe that explains how to register and get started. V-safe is free to use — you will need a smartphone with a modern browser and access to the internet to participate. Participation is voluntary and you can opt out at any time. To opt out, simply text “STOP” when v-safe sends you a text message. You can also start v-safe again by texting “START.”

If you would like to participate in v-safe, you must sign up within 42 days of getting your first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Get Started at https://vsafe.cdc.gov/


What is v-safe?

Use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. You’ll also get reminders if you need a second vaccine dose. V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that checks in on you after your COVID-19 vaccination. Your participation helps keep COVID-19 vaccines safe — for you and for everyone.

If you got vaccinated in the last 6 weeks, you can participate in v-safe!

Get Started at https://vsafe.cdc.gov/