DENVER | COVID-19 booster vaccines are now available to eligible Coloradans, following approval from federal health officials last week.
Gov. Jared Polis received his vaccine, which is designed to combat the original COVID-19 virus and the omicron variant, Wednesday at a community vaccination site at Ball Arena in Denver.
“I eagerly rolled up my sleeve to get the omicron vaccine dose because it’s a safe and easy way that I can protect my family, and our community, and have peace of mind. These updated vaccines went through a thorough approval process and now we are thrilled they are finally available to protect Coloradans from the omicron variants,” he said in a statement following the jab.
Nearly 400 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna omicron vaccines are available at Ball Arena Wednesday and Thursday, according to the state health department, though appointments are filling up quickly.
Coloradans can also find vaccines at primary care offices, community health centers and pharmacies across the state. Find a vaccine provider or appointment here.
Pfizer’s omicron dose is only authorized for people 12 years and older and the Moderna dose is authorized for people 18 years and older. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment encourages anybody who has previously received a third, fourth or fifth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to also get the omicron booster.
The new U.S. boosters are combination, or “bivalent,” shots. They contain half that original vaccine recipe and half protection against the newest omicron versions, called BA.4 and BA.5, that are considered the most contagious yet.
The combination aims to increase cross-protection against multiple variants.
“All viruses mutate over time, including the COVID-19 virus,” Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer for CDPHE, said in a statement. “It is common practice to adapt vaccines to target new strains of a virus, as we do every year with the flu vaccine. These omicron doses have been formulated to protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants dominant in the United States and Colorado right now.”
The Food and Drug Administration approved the omicron boosters Aug. 31. Millions of doses were slated to be distributed within the week.
— The Associated Press contributed to this story