COVID-19 Booster Shots In Colorado: Health Officials Approve Third Dose For The Immunocompromised

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Denver nurse and volunteer Shani Jones puts a shot of Moderna vaccine in the arm of Angel Martinez of Henderson at a COVID 19 vaccination clinic hosted by Second Chance Center in Aurora on Friday, May 14, 2021. SCC is a nonprofit that helps the formerly incarcerated re-establish successful lives in the community.

Colorado authorized a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people with compromised immune systems after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it may provide an additional layer of protection from the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The federal and state actions apply to people undergoing treatment for tumors caused by cancer, or cancers of the blood, people who have received an organ transplant, those who have received a stem cell transplant, those with advanced or untreated HIV and people undergoing treatment with corticosteroids.

Diana Herrero, deputy director of the state health department's division of disease control and public health response said in a Friday evening release that the state has plenty of additional vaccine to handle any increased demand.

“We have enough vaccine inventory in the state to begin administering an additional dose for these immunocompromised Coloradans,” Herrero said. “Administering an additional dose of the vaccine for these Coloradans will help us increase their protection and prevent more severe illness, hospitalization, and death.”

Even without authorization, more than 7,000 Coloradans have already received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine just by going to their doctor or other provider and asking for it. The state maintains a vaccine database recording doses, but acknowledges that record keeping among providers can be spotty, so the true number of people who have gotten a third dose is uncertain.

Gov. Jared Polis has pushed the federal government to authorize the third dose, though the science on whether it is effective or necessary for people without immunity concerns is still evolving. The medical community has not yet settled on exactly what level of immune response is enough to protect otherwise healthy people from COVID-19, and, with vaccine in short supply in large parts of the world, there is debate around whether it is best to get vaccine to where initial doses are needed before considering third doses for certain groups.

The CDC estimates that those eligible for a third dose make up about three percent of the adult population. In Colorado, that would amount to more than 135,000 people.

CPR's John Daley contributed to this report.