Americans throughout the country are beginning to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccines, but until it is widely available, residents should continue to follow public health protocols like wearing masks and staying at least six feet away from others.
The state is planning to vaccinate Coloradans in three different phases for free. Private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid will cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines, but even if a resident is uninsured, everyone will have access to free vaccines.
Currently, Colorado is in phases 1A and 1B of distributing the vaccine. Among those who are currently eligible for a vaccine include people who work directly with COVID-19 patients for 15 minutes or more, long-term care facility staff and residents, moderate-risk health care workers, first responders, frontline essential workers like teachers and grocery store employees and residents ages 70 and older. If you are in either phase 1A or 1B you can try contacting a vaccine provider near you or wait for more providers to come onboard in early January, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Phase 2 of Colorado’s vaccine rollout is expected to arrive in spring and will see high-risk individuals and other essential workers will be eligible to be vaccinated. People included in Phase 2 who are eligible for the vaccine are people age 60-69, people age 16-59 with obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, significant heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer or those who are immune compromised, other essential workers and adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. In the summer, the vaccine is expected to be available to the general Colorado public including those who aren’t U.S. citizens.
When you receive a COVID-19 vaccine, your vaccine provider will give you a vaccination card that shows which vaccine you received, the date you received it and where you received it. That card will serve as a reminder of when to get a second dose of the vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines have gone through three different clinical research studies or trials and have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Side effects from the vaccine can occur, particularly after receiving a second dose of it. However, symptoms are normal and are a sign that your body is responding to the vaccine.
Last month, the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine as other companies are still going through clinical research. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approximately 95 percent effective, according to both companies. Both vaccines require two doses.
The news of vaccines being distributed throughout the country couldn’t come at a better time. With restaurants set to reopen indoor dining in Colorado, the state has approached 5,000 COVID-related deaths with at least 342,000 cases of the virus reported.