We are building a database of everyone who is interested in getting a vaccine so that we can efficiently and equitably administer the limited doses that we are receiving. The guidance on phases from the CDC, ACIP and State continue to be a moving target. This database will allow us to pivot quickly to the continued changes.
While filling out this form will inform us of the number of people in each phase, it does not guarantee a vaccine in any timeframe. When your time comes in the phases, you will be notified to schedule an appointment.
Each person in your household or in your care should register. This includes children, should a time come for a vaccine for younger age groups.
Colorado Vaccine Distribution Phases
December 17th, 2020 Virtual Town Hall
Expert Panel of Medical Professionals on the COVID-19 Vaccine
- Pfizer EUA Authorization
- Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet
- Moderna EUA Authorization
- Moderna EUA Fact Sheet
- V-safe app
COVID-19 Vaccine- Frequently Asked Questions
Risks from COVID-19 infection:
- While a majority of individuals with COVID-19 have a mild-moderate illness and recover well, we have seen significant and severe disease for many individuals in our community and at large, including among younger and otherwise healthy individuals. One has to consider potential serious risk COVID-19 infection poses to both you as an individual as well as your surrounding family and close contacts.
- We have to recognize that we still have very limited treatment options. Aside from steroids and supplemental oxygen, many of the emerging therapies have still unproven benefits and exist in such limited quantities that many are currently in a lottery distribution format here in Colorado.
- After the initial recovery from COVID-19 disease, there is still the potential for long-term health impacts related to the virus and we have seen many individuals still struggling to get back to their previous quality of life.
- Lastly, it is still not known the extent to which getting COVID-19 disease will protect an individual against getting it again, or, if it does, how long that protection might last.
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
- No. The vaccines cannot give someone COVID-19. The vaccines are mRNA which do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
How long will it take the vaccine to generate an effective immune response for an individual?
- It takes at least a week or two after the 2nd dose for adequate immunity to develop following vaccination.
I have heard you need two doses of the vaccine? I don’t like shots, why do I need two?
- Both mRNA vaccines require two injections, given either 21 or 28 days apart. The first dose primes the immune system and the second dose helps boost the immune system even further to help provide better protection against the coronavirus.
- For example, the Pfizer vaccine has been shown to be 95% effective after an individual receives 2 doses, however, only 52% effective if an individual receives just a single dose.
Is an individual at risk of contracting COVID in the time period between the first and second vaccine doses?
Yes. Both mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) require two injections, given between 21 and 28 days apart. This ensures the immune system is well enough to fight off the coronavirus.
What about side effects?
- The Pfizer vaccine studies have provided the most information we have to date about side effects and early reports have shown similar side effects for the Moderna vaccine.
- The most common side effects include (in order of frequency):
- Localized pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, chills, joint pain, or fever
- These side effects were:
- Mild-moderate in severity for a majority of people
- More frequent after 2nd dose compared to the 1st dose
- Less frequent for individuals over 55 years of age
- Typically seen within 1-2 days of receiving the vaccine and lasted about 24 hours on average
- Importantly, these side effects represent your body’s immune system working appropriately to produce antibodies to the coronavirus and are shorter in duration and less severe than a significant COVID-19 infection.
If I have already had COVID-19, do I still need the vaccine?
- There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection.
- Following guidance from the CDC, the current plan is to recommend and offer the vaccine to individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. Given limited initial supplies of these vaccines, this would ideally occur greater than 90 days after an individual has recovered from their COVID-19 infection.
Is my family at risk of getting COVID-19 from me, even after I have been vaccinated, but they have not?
- Yes. While it is expected that the vaccine will protect against more moderate to severe infections, it will take additional time to study how well the vaccine helps prevent mild or asymptomatic infections for the broader population. Until we have this additional information, a vaccinated person could still potentially spread the virus if they are infected.
- In the meantime, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, such as appropriate mask use, washing hands frequently, and utilizing physical distancing.
If I get the vaccine do I still need to wear a mask?
- Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-life conditions, it will be important for you to continue to take COVID precautions such as wearing a mask, hand hygiene and social distancing. Until we reach a level of herd-immunity across the County and State, the necessary precautions will likely stay in place to prevent spread of the disease.
Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant? What about if I am breastfeeding?
- Pregnant women with COVID-19 have been shown to have an increased risk of severe illness compared to non-pregnant women.
- There is currently very limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy and while pregnant women have not been enrolled in these early trials, there are studies being developed to look specifically at pregnant women. Of note, 12 women who received the Pfizer mRNA vaccine became pregnant during the study and no adverse outcomes were reported for this small group.
- Based on current knowledge, experts believe that mRNA vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant.
- When making a decision, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that pregnant women and their healthcare providers should “consider the level of COVID-19 community transmission, the patient’s personal risk of contracting COVID-19, the risks of COVID-19 to the patient and potential risks to the fetus, the efficacy of the vaccine, the side effects of the vaccine and the lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy.”
- In regards to women who are breastfeeding, experts agree that mRNA vaccines are not thought to pose a risk to the breastfeeding infant. Still, similar to pregnant women, there is limited data for this group and more studies are needed. For now, it is a similar risk-benefit discussion between the individual and her healthcare provider.
How do these mRNA vaccines work?
- The outer surface of the coronavirus is covered in “spike proteins” which allow it to enter and infect a person’s cells.
- The mRNA vaccine uses a short copy of mRNA genetic material which helps a vaccinated cell build replicas of these specific spike proteins.
- Your body’s immune system then creates antibodies and other memory immune cells to help recognize and block the spike proteins, therefore limiting the ability of the coronavirus to infect your body in the future.
Good to hear. But I kind of feel like I’m a “guinea pig” or test subject for this vaccine.
- I hear you and I respect your concern that this is a newer type of vaccine.
- Fortunately, the vaccine companies, in conjunction with the FDA and independent scientists, have used the same rigorous structure to develop these vaccines as has been used for all other drug and vaccine development. These involve multiple studies or “phased trials” across many months with larger and larger groups of people to ensure that the vaccine is both safe and effective for the general public.
- Tens of thousands of individuals across the US and the world have volunteered and helped provide this important information. They are the guinea pigs and should be recognized as true heroes in my book.
Have these vaccines actually been shown to work? I’ve heard they are 94% to 95% effective, but what does that mean?
- Yes! For the Pfizer vaccine study, this means that while monitoring tens of thousands of individuals who had received the vaccine as well a similarly sized group who had not received the vaccine (placebo), only 8 individuals developed COVID-19 disease in the vaccine group compared to 162 individuals in the placebo group.
- More importantly, early data has shown that the mRNA-based vaccines are effective at preventing severe COVID-19 disease. This is important as our healthcare systems across Colorado and nationally are operating at capacity with severe COVID-19 patients.
Is the vaccine safe for my children?
- Adolescents aged 16–17 years are included among individuals eligible to receive the Pfizer mRNA vaccine under the FDA’s EUA. Their most recent clinical trials included 153 participants aged 16–17 years, with no safety concerns identified.
- On December 2nd, Moderna registered a trial to test their vaccine on children between 12 and 18 years of age. Pfizer has expanded their trials to children down to the age of 12 as well in initial small study groups.
- Globally, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been tested on children down to the age of 5.
- It could be toward the end of 2021 before vaccine approval goes down to the infant level.
- While it will take time to determine appropriate safety and use of these vaccines in children, it is important to remember that children are less at risk of developing severe COVID-19 infections.
Is there anyone who absolutely should not receive the Pfizer mRNA vaccine based on what we currently know?
- For the recently approved Pfizer vaccine, an individual with a history of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any component of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should not receive the vaccine.
- Individuals with a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to other vaccines or injectable medications should have a risk-benefit discussion with their healthcare provider, but they are not excluded from receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
- Individuals with a history of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, to other exposures such as food, pets, insects, oral medications, environmental allergies, or other allergic reactions are similarly not excluded from getting the vaccine and are not thought to be at increased risk based on available information.
When will I have access to one of the COVID-19 vaccines?
- The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, in conjunction with the CDC and other agencies, have provided the following guidance and expectations for distribution of the vaccine.
- The goal will be to distribute the vaccine as efficiently and equitably as possible within this framework and taking into consideration the unique aspects of Gunnison county.
- What to expect at your vaccination appointment
- What to expect after getting vaccinated
- Post-vaccination considerations for healthcare personnel
- Post-vaccination considerations for long-term care residents