Masks and face coverings
Public Health strongly recommends wearing a mask in public indoor settings — regardless of vaccination status — in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
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
Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat-Sun, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Answers available in multiple languages.
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. Please note that the Pfizer vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, is fully approved for individuals 16 years of age and older by the FDA. It is still under emergency use authorization for individuals 12 through 15. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have received EUA authorization.
Please visit our How will I get the vaccine? web page to view a list of providers and a vaccine provider map.
No. Minors may go to their vaccine appointments unaccompanied as long as parental consent is collected and shared prior to the appointment. This can be done through Colorado’s COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Administration Form (view in Spanish) or through the vaccine provider’s online scheduling system. The provider may also obtain consent by phone and document it in the patient’s record.
Serious side effects
ALERT: On September 29, 2021, CDC issued an urgent health advisory to increase COVID-19 vaccination among people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future to prevent serious illness, deaths, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. To read the advisory, click here.
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.
The CDC updated this guidance in August 2021 based on new evidence about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. A new analysis of current data from the v-safe pregnancy registry assessed vaccination early in pregnancy and did not find an increased risk for miscarriage among people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were similar to the expected rate of miscarriage. Additionally, previous findings from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.
Although current studies show that it takes two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to be fully effective, there is no evidence that taking only one dose will have any harmful effects on your health. If you do not receive the second dose, you will not be fully immunized and be at higher risk of getting symptomatic COVID-19 than if you received both doses.
No, mRNA from the COVID-19 vaccines does not affect your DNA. mRNA is a naturally occurring and temporary genetic molecule that instructs your cells how to create spike proteins in the body. Minutes to hours after the mRNA is read by the cell, the body destroys the temporary mRNA using a special enzyme. After your cells make copies of the virus’ protein, your immune system is triggered and recognizes that the protein should not be in your body. Your body then builds antibodies so that it remembers how to fight the virus if you are exposed in the future.
The CDC has issued guidance for domestic travel and international travel.
CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has answers to many common questions here.
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.