El Paso County Vaccine Distribution Update
Learn more about vaccine eligibility and distribution.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE COVID-19 VACCINE:
Monday through Friday,
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free, confidential vaccine referrals. Available in multiple languages.
TEXT “vaccine” (FOR ENGLISH) OR “vacuna” (FOR SPANISH) TO 667873
to get contact information for your preferred vaccine provider
COVID-19 VACCINE HOTLINE
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Answers available in multiple languages.
The supply of COVID-19 vaccine(s) is very limited. This means that a vaccine will not be immediately available to everyone who wants one. To be as fair and efficient with distribution as possible, the state has developed a phased approach to vaccine distribution to save lives and end the crisis that has been brought on by the pandemic as quickly as possible. By vaccinating people who are most likely to get COVID-19 first, we can keep more Coloradans safe.
Colorado’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan will evolve as more information about vaccines becomes available and stakeholder engagement continues. We will update this page as often as necessary when new information becomes available.
For more in-depth information please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:
Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines are required to meet the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) safety and effectiveness requirements before they are made available to the public. There are several factors that helped accelerate the development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines, including major government funding and technological advances. Usually, vaccine development and trials happen one after the other, and it can take some time. For COVID-19 vaccines, the federal government provided substantial additional funding to conduct vaccine development and trials at the same time, making the process more efficient. While it was a faster process, it was still a rigorous process. To ensure vaccines are safe and effective, the FDA required the same three phases of clinical trials it does for any vaccine.
In certain emergency situations, the FDA may issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow an investigational vaccine to be available to the general public. Read more about what that means in our Emergency Use Authorization FAQ below.
Yes, there are three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States, but they are being distributed in a phased approach. Colorado is currently vaccinating eligible Coloradans for Phase 1A, Phase 1B.1 and Phase 1B.2. Next, we will proceed with Phase 1B.3 starting on March 5, and then Phase 2. Several additional COVID-19 vaccines are still under development.
While we are planning to act swiftly, we expect it could take several months, or potentially more than a year, to distribute a vaccine to everyone who wants one, especially because most vaccines and vaccine candidates require two doses. We are working closely with local public health agencies, health care providers, pharmacies and diverse community partners to distribute the vaccine as equitably and efficiently as possible. COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Timeline
Because the initial supply of vaccine is very limited, it will be distributed first to people most at risk for COVID-19. Phase 1A includes the highest-risk health care workers and individuals (including long-term care facility staff and residents). Phase 1B.1 includes Coloradans aged 70-plus, moderate-risk health care workers and first responders. Phase 1B.2 includes Coloradans age 65-69, pre-K-12 educators, child care workers and others.
Colorado’s phases are based on federal guidelines to distribute a limited supply of vaccines in a fair, ethical and transparent way.
Colorado will move into Phase 1B.3 on March 5.
In the early stages of vaccine distribution, health care providers will provide information to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on how much vaccine they need and how many people are getting vaccinated. Once state officials believe enough vaccine has been distributed to those who want a vaccine in the first phase, they will move to the next phase. The speed at which states and counties are able to move through the phases will largely depend on the supply of vaccine.
With many people starting to get their COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to remember that individuals may have some side effects after their vaccination, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. Side effects may feel like the flu, but it is critical to get the second shot unless a vaccine provider or doctor says otherwise. It is important that everyone—including people who have been vaccinated—continue to follow prevention practices such as wearing a mask, social distancing and frequently washing your hands.
As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, vaccine providers will not be allowed to charge patients for the vaccine. It is possible that providers may charge a fee to administer the vaccine. We expect that most public and private insurance companies will cover this fee so that there is no cost to the person getting vaccinated. This will also be the case for people without health insurance through the Provider Relief Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Serious side effects
So far, more than 1,200 facilities in Colorado have expressed interest in being a COVID-19 vaccine provider. During the initial phase, vaccine providers include local public health agencies and large hospitals and health systems. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, the network of COVID-19 vaccine providers will expand to include doctors’ offices, pharmacies, homeless shelters, colleges/universities, senior centers, school-based health centers and other health and medical locations.
We have to continue to follow public health guidance closely now and for the foreseeable future. Prevention methods still include: wearing a mask in public, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others not in our household, avoiding large crowds, washing our hands often and staying home when we are sick.
The flu vaccine is available now. The state health department recommends everyone age 6 months and older get the flu vaccine, as soon as possible. Getting a flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19, but a flu vaccination will reduce your risk of getting the flu. If you have questions about getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine when one is available, read our Flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine FAQ below or see our Similarities and Differences Between Flu and COVID-19 guidance.
Colorado’s Phased Implementation Plan for a COVID-19 vaccine was developed through a collaboration between the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee’s Medical Advisory Group (a group of medical experts and ethicists), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Governor’s Office and extensive community engagement with community members and leaders.
Everyone age 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine annually.
Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever because we need to ensure our healthcare systems aren’t overwhelmed during the pandemic
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19, but a flu vaccination will reduce your risk of getting the flu and being hospitalized because of the flu.
For additional information, visit CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety.html
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licenses and approves the use of vaccines. Before the FDA approves a vaccine, the manufacturer must do rigorous research and testing to ensure the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. The FDA independently reviews and verifies the information from these tests. It then decides whether the vaccine can be given to the public.
Vaccines must go through a detailed scientific evaluation before they can be submitted to the FDA for approval. Each phase of the evaluation includes three different clinical research studies. In the clinical research study or trial, the vaccine is tested on people who volunteer to be part of the study. Each clinical trial emphasizes safety of the vaccine on people. As the research moves through to the next phase, the group of volunteers becomes bigger to include more diversity in people and circumstances.
EUAs were initially introduced in 2004 to prepare for bioterrorism attacks. Under an EUA, the government is able to authorize medical treatments and products in the event of a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) attack.
The FDA may issue an EUA for a medical product if it meets the following criteria:
A vaccine intended for wide distribution to the general public has not been released under an EUA in the past. The only vaccine authorized under an EUA prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was an anthrax vaccine in 2005. This vaccine was given to certain military personnel who were at heightened risk of exposure to anthrax.
Although not common, EUAs have been issued multiple times in the past for tests, treatments and medical equipment.