Coloradans who received COVID-19 vaccines produced by Moderna or Johnson & Johnson have been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get booster shots under certain conditions, greatly expanding the pool of who can get additional doses.
In August, the CDC approved boosters for people who have suppressed immune systems. A month later came approval for certain people who’d received the Pfizer vaccine.
In addition to approval for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters, the CDC authorized a “mix and match” approach to the shots, noting people may get a different type of vaccine for their booster than their original shot.
The authorization kicks in immediately for anyone eligible to receive boosters.
“For many Coloradans, a booster dose is an important part of maintaining the greatest protection against COVID-19,” said Dr. Eric France, the state’s chief medical officer, in a news release. “People who are eligible should get their booster dose as soon as possible, especially as we approach the holidays and look forward to safely celebrating with our families and friends.”
The state health department said Colorado has “ample inventory” to provide booster shots to those who are eligible while still administering first and second doses to people completing their initial vaccine series.
Eligible Coloradans can receive free COVID-19 vaccines or boosters at any of the more than 1,700 vaccine providers across the state or at one of the state’s mobile vaccination clinics, officials said. No insurance, identification, proof of residency, or proof of medical history is required.
Here’s who is eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination booster shots:
Late this summer, the CDC approved booster shots for people who had been inoculated with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and have suppressed immune systems. But the agency declined to authorize the additional doses for the full population.
People qualify for additional doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because they’re immunocompromised if they:
- Had an organ transplant at any time, or a recent stem cell transplant
- Are being treated for cancer
- Were born with a compromised immune system
- Have uncontrolled HIV
- Are being treated with high doses of immune-suppressing drugs
- Have another condition that can severely affect the immune system, like chronic kidney disease
The CDC’s authorization of additional doses for people who are immunocompromised did not include Johnson & Johnson, but boosters of that vaccine are now allowed for anyone above the age of 18 regardless of health condition.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccine recipients
This week’s CDC approval of Moderna vaccines comes with the same qualifications as the authorization of third doses of Pfizer.
People who are fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can get a third shot if they are 65 or older, or if they’re 18 or older and have qualifying health conditions, live in long-term care settings, or work or live in places that put them at higher risk of contracting the virus.
People who meet those conditions are eligible for a booster six months after completing their original vaccination series.
The health conditions that qualify for the Pfizer or Moderna boosters include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic lung disease, including moderate or severe asthma
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions
- Weakened immune system
- Liver disease
- Overweight or obesity
- Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Current or former smoking
- Organ or stem cell transplants
- Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
- Substance use disorder (addiction)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients
Booster doses are recommended for anyone 18 and older who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is believed to be less effective than the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
People who originally received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can get their booster two months or more after their single dose, according to the CDC.
And under the mix-and-match authorization, people who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shots can elect to receive a shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines as their booster.