Coloradans Will Not Need ID To Receive COVID Vaccine

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Emergency room nurse Nick bean, left, gets his COVID-19 vaccination from nurse Karla Kelley at North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton, Dec. 17, 2020.

Colorado's COVID-19 vaccine providers cannot require people to provide proof of identification in order to be inoculated.

Scott Bookman, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s COVID-19 incident commander, announced the rule Sunday in a letter to providers.

Providers can still ask people to give their name, age and address, but those requests cannot dictate whether or not the person will be vaccinated. Vaccinators are encouraged to instead follow an "honor system" and take a patient's word about their eligibility. If a provider does not follow the new policy, it could lose access to vaccine doses.

Colorado is currently in Phase 1 of its vaccination plan, which prioritizes people over the age of 70 and essential frontline workers, like first responders and health care employees. Vaccine supplies in Colorado are still low, however, so even if recipients are all eligible, a county may not be able to vaccinate everyone in that group.

"We understand that while vaccine supply is limited, providers are looking to verify age so that they know they are vaccinating groups within the current prioritization phase(s)," Bookman wrote in the CDPHE letter. "However, requiring proof of ID, especially a government-issued ID, can exacerbate distrust and accessibility inequities for many critical groups."

The letter points to undocumented, homeless and disabled communities as particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, but whose members may not have an ID.

"Whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, we are all in this together. If you would like a vaccine, you will be able to get one according to what vaccine phase you are in," Bookman said.

The agency also announced a Jan. 22 deadline for providers to set up a system that lets non-patients schedule vaccine appointments. At a minimum, CDPHE says providers should set up a direct web link and a phone line to handle inquiries.