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How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine in Colorado

Mass vaccinations
A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-up site in Denver.
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Gr/Denver Post via Getty Images

En español | Who can get vaccinated now? 

  • Everyone age 12 and up 

Where can I get vaccinated? 

  • Federal and state-run vaccine sites, including mass vaccination clinics, with some sites taking walk-ins, no appointment necessary. You can use the health department's website to find a site near you. A complete list of current and future mass vaccine sites with contact information is available on the state COVID-19 website. Colorado’s COVID-19 data dashboard is tracking how many people have been vaccinated in the state.
  • Homebound Coloradans can sign up for in-home vaccinations by calling the state health department at 877-268-2926.
  • The federal government’s vaccines website, www.vaccines.gov, lets you search for vaccination sites by zip code, with links to appointments. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489). 
  • Many transit agencies are offering free or discount rides to and from vaccination sites.

AARP recommends that you talk to your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment? 

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment.

How will nursing homes and other long-term care residents get the vaccine? 

Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Colorado were offered COVID-19 vaccinations through a federal program that contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccines via free on-site clinics. The program has ended, but to ensure long-term care facilities still have access to vaccines for new residents or staff, or for residents and staff who were initially hesitant to receive the shots, the federal government is continuing to allocate doses to pharmacies partnered with long-term care facilities. 

Which vaccines require a second shot?

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. You should get a card from your provider stating when and where to return for the second dose. Colorado says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls.  

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot. A Food and Drug Administration warning says the vaccine has been connected with rare, severe blood clots in a small number of recipients, especially in women age 50 years and younger, and an increased risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder.

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot. 

Do I have to pay for the vaccination?

You should not have any out-of-pocket costs for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example). 

According to Colorado's state plan, costs to administer the vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Colorado’s Child Health Plan Plus and private insurance. COVID-19 vaccinations are free of charge for uninsured Coloradans. There are already reports of scammers purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

What should I do with my vaccine card? 

You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.  

You may need your vaccine card for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. If you lose your card or did not receive one, contact your vaccine provider or your local health department to get a copy. 

When will kids be able to get vaccinated? 

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for those age 12 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months.

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?   

It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and after the second dose of the two-dose shots. After that, the CDC says, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors and outdoors without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by state and federal law and local business and workplace requirements. 

The CDC recommends continuing to wear a mask on planes, buses and trains and other shared transport while traveling into, within or out of the United States. 

This guide was updated on July 13 with the latest FDA warning about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Also of Interest:

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