As concern about the omicron variant rises and evidence mounts that a booster dose of the vaccine is the key to preventing severe illness, Coloradans are once again experiencing challenges in finding COVID-19 vaccines.
But there are booster doses available in Colorado, and probably near you. Finding an appointment just may require a little hunting.
You won’t have to pay
Like the initial vaccine doses, the booster is free, and you won’t need an ID or insurance coverage in order to get one. You just show up, give them a little information so they can track the race, ethnicity and age of vaccine recipients and you should then get the jab. If your provider asks for money, look elsewhere. If you can, bring your vaccine card from the first two doses so they can enter the third on the same card. If not, you will probably get a new card.
Which vaccine should you get?
Your vaccine card will show which of the vaccines you received for the first, if you got the Johnson and Johnson shot, or first two, if you received either Moderna or Pfizer. It’s okay to get a dose from the same manufacturer for your booster if you got Pfizer or Moderna, but it is not necessary. The CDC has authorized mixing and matching of booster doses from Pfizer or Moderna. If you got your initial dose from Johnson & Johnson, in most cases the CDC recommends a booster from Pfizer or Moderna.
Where you can get a booster
There are more than 1,000 providers across the state. They include mass vaccination sites, mobile pop-up clinics and private pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, King Soopers, Walmart and smaller pharmacies that aren’t part of a chain.
Colorado has a list of every place in the state that offers vaccines and boosters. Some locations offer the ability to make appointments online. Check with your local pharmacy or with your physician because they may have appointments available, too.
For example, in metro Denver, there are appointments available Tuesday at the Aurora Municipal Center, or Thursday at Ball Arena. In Colorado Springs, you can get one Wednesday at Citadel Mall. In Mesa County there are appointments available Wednesday and Thursday, or next Wednesday, Jan. 5.
The holiday week may be causing some disruption due to staffing, but unlike those early days in 2021, there are now enough doses of the vaccine to meet demand.
Where you can get tested
That may be a little trickier. Demand for at-home rapid tests surged in advance of the holiday, and that same demand has led to longer-than-usual wait times at testing sites offering PCR tests, even with an appointment. There are more than 100 testing centers statewide though, and depending on where you live, there should be one relatively near you. The state has a list of every test center here.
In many cases, appointments are necessary, but money never should be. Just as with the vaccine, you don’t need an ID or insurance to get tested. However, you may need a little patience.
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- Is it COVID or a cold? Here’s what to do if you feel sick, and how to stay safe during the holidays
- Omicron has arrived in Colorado. Here’s what we know about how COVID spreads in the air
- With omicron concerns rising, Polis says booster shot may become requirement for full vaccination status
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