Frequently Asked Questions

General Vaccine Questions

What is the FDA approval status of the vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 6 months and older.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine also has full FDA approval for individuals 6 months and older.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for emergency use for individuals 18 and older. 

The Novavax vaccine is approved for individuals 12 years and older.

All vaccines are safe and have been confirmed to meet the FDA's rigorous scientific standards.

Are the vaccines safe to use?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. The vaccines have been through more safety testing than many other mandated and fully approved vaccines and the manufacturers have met all necessary safety requirements. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been fully approved by the FDA. Johnson & Johnson has received emergency use authorization from the FDA and is waiting on the approval of the paperwork for full approval.

Where can I get vaccinated if I live in Denver?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. All COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

Some people experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind that these side effects are indicators that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine.

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I receive?

Yes, you can determine which vaccine to get. All COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

Is it true that COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue?

No, that is false. None of the vaccines -- the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine contain fetal cells.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility or increase the chances of a woman miscarrying?

COVID-19 vaccines have not been linked to infertility or miscarriage. A sophisticated disinformation campaign has been circulating online, claiming that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19 produced from these vaccines will bind to placental proteins and prevent pregnancy. This disinformation is thought to originate from internet postings by a former scientist known to hold anti-vaccine views.

While there are no formal studies, the best evidence comes from women who got sick with COVID-19 while pregnant. While data clearly indicates pregnant women are at higher risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, there is no evidence of increased miscarriage rates. During natural infection, the immune system generates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. Thus, if COVID-19 affected fertility, there already would be an increase in miscarriage rates in women infected with COVID-19. This has not happened.

If I have already had COVID-19, do I still need to be vaccinated?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover, but we do know vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

Should I get a booster vaccine?

Yes, booster shots are necessary for the highest level of protection against COVID-19. CDC recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, including all primary series doses and boosters for their age group:

  • People ages 5 years to 11 years are currently recommended to get the original (monovalent) booster.
    • People ages 12 years and older are recommended to receive one updated Pfizer or Moderna (bivalent) booster.
      • This includes people who have received all primary series doses and people who have previously received one or more original (monovalent) boosters.
      • At this time, people aged 12 years to 17 years can only receive the updated Pfizer bivalent booster.

 

 

 

Vaccines for those ages 5-11 years old

Why should I get my child (aged 5-11) vaccinated against COVID-19?

Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can get sick from COVID-19 and spread COVID-19 to others. Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective method in preventing infection, severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 in both children and adults. Additionally, widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic Protect your child, your family, and your community by vaccinating those 5 years and older.  

What is the approval status of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the prevention on COVID-19 disease in individuals aged 5-11. Vaccines are safe and have been confirmed to meet the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards.  

What are the risks associated with getting a COVID-19 vaccine in this age group?

Adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are extremely rare. The known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the potential risks associate with vaccination. It’s possible you may experience short-term mild or moderate reactions after receiving the vaccine, but those side effect resolve quickly.  

What are the side effects of the vaccine on children aged 5-11?

Similar to those in older age groups, some children experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve quickly including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind that these side effects are indicators that the immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine. 

Are children aged 5-11 given the same vaccine dosage as adults?

No. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11 is comprised of two, 10-microgram doses, administered 21 days apart.  

How effective is the vaccine in children?

Pfizer’s clinical trials showed that the vaccine for children ages 12-15 years was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. The vaccine for children ages 5-11 years was about 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. Both vaccines were 100% effective in preventing severe disease and death. 

Where can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and health care partners across the city. COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Many providers are taking advance COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children ages 5-11. 

Beginning Friday, November 5, CDPHE is partnering with Children’s Hospital Colorado to offer vaccine clinics for children ages 5-11. Find clinic dates and sign up for an appointment in advance.

If you have specific questions, contact your child’s pediatrician. 

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on our website, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

How can I protect unvaccinated family members, including children that are too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Protect unvaccinated family members by vaccinating those 5 years and older and wearing a face covering in all indoor public spaces.Do NOT put face coverings on children under 2 years of age.

Booster Shots

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot?

Individuals 5 years and older are eligible to receive a booster and some people are eligible for 2 boosters. See the CDC website for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 booster shots. 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I “mix and match” the COVID-19 booster shot I receive?

The FDA and CDC have now approved the “mixing and matching” of COVID-19 booster shots meaning that eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. The availability of type of vaccine may vary by provider. 

What are the risks associated with getting a booster shot?

Similar to the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, some people experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve quickly including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind these side effects are indicators that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine. 

Am I still considered “fully vaccinated” if I don’t get a booster shot?

Yes. Everyone is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks following their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Why do I need a booster shot?

While COVID-19 vaccines are working well to protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death, public health experts are beginning to see reduced protection likely due to waning immunity and the emergence of new variants. Clinical trials showed that a booster shot increased the immune response of participants. Additional information about booster shots can be found on the CDC website.

Where can I get a booster shot?

COVID-19 booster shots are readily available through pharmacies and health care partners across the city. All COVID-19 boosters are free to all Denver residents and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 booster. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine and booster is available on our Get A Vaccine website, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines

 

 

 

Public Health Order: Vaccine Mandates

Why is the city lifting the mandate requiring employees in high-risk settings be vaccinated?

Community transmission of COVID-19 in Denver is now under 5% and 90% of Coloradans now have some antibody protections against Omicron through vaccination, prior infection or both. The incidence of severe disease and death has declined significantly and is virtually non-existent for those who have been vaccinated and boosted.  As a result, hospital capacity has stabilized. Vaccines and booster doses are also readily available. Current circumstances allow us to transition to a longer-term approach that treats COVID-19 as an endemic disease and reserves public health orders for urgent situations. 

Is it safe to lift the vaccine mandate now?

Yes, people who are fully vaccinated and boosted are at very low risk for severe disease. Hospitalization and case rates are dropping quickly, and modeling suggests that lifting the public health order will not have a negative impact on the current data trends. Children under the age of 5 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine are at very low risk for severe disease. 

Can the city implement a new vaccine mandate in the future?

Yes. The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our community and may issue new public health orders in the future if data shows it will protect community health. 

What should I do if I was fired from my job for not complying with the vaccination mandate?

Check with your employer. Each employer can make a determination as to whether they will continue to require vaccination and whether employees who were fired are eligible for rehire.

What should I do if I quit my job as a result of the vaccination mandate?

People who quit their job as a result of the vaccination mandate can reach out to employers to understand whether they are still requiring vaccination and whether they are eligible to be hired. 

How does the end of Denver’s vaccination mandate impact the existing federal or state vaccination mandates in place?

While Denver’s vaccination mandate for people working in high-risk settings and for city employees has been lifted, some people are still required to be vaccinated per State or Federal regulations, or by company policy. 

The State of Colorado requires all state employees, contractors and vendors to report their vaccination status in the state-provided tracking system as either fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. For employees who’ve decided not to get vaccinated or reveal their status, they must undergo biweekly COVID-19 testing, under state rules. 

The Colorado Board of Health first approved an emergency rule requiring vaccination for health care personnel on Aug. 30, 2021. On Dec. 15, 2021, the Board extended the emergency rule for 120 days (April 14, 2022). The rule affects all licensed health care entities. It requires them to mandate personnel to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes employees, direct contractors, and support staff who interact with people receiving or seeking medical care. The rule allows for both medical and religious exemptions for personnel who are unable to be vaccinated. 

Some federal employees and contractors are required to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires that health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid are fully vaccinated.

Are face coverings recommended in the workplace?

If employees are up to date with their vaccinations, face coverings are not necessary. There are certain facilities where employees, regardless of vaccination status, may still need to wear face coverings based on state and federal law, including in transportation facilities like Denver International Airport and in medical facilities. For those who are immunocompromised, face coverings can provide an extra layer of protection. Face coverings are strongly recommended for those who are unvaccinated.

  

Proof of Vaccination/Vaccine Availability

How do I show proof of vaccination?

Your vaccination card is proof of vaccination. You can also access the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization

You should follow your employer’s process to show proof of vaccination.  

What if I can’t find my vaccination card?

If you got your vaccine in Colorado, patients and guardians of minors can now use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of their immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

You can also download the myColorado App and click on the myVaccine Record section. The app may require additional log-in information to access the record the first time. 

How do I replace or get a copy of my vaccination card?

You can reach out to your vaccine provider to see if they can offer a replacement. 

If you got your vaccine in Colorado, you can also use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

Can I use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) as proof of vaccination?

Yes, you can both view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

What if my vaccination record is not in the Colorado’s immunization database?

If you are unable to access immunization records through the Public Portal, please call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) for assistance. 

Where can I go to become vaccinated?

Vaccines are free and readily available and no documentation or insurance is needed. To learn more and find out where to get a free vaccine at https://www.denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine or by calling 311. 

Is the vaccine free? Do I need to show proof of insurance?

The vaccine is free. Providers should not ask you to pay for the vaccine or other administrative costs, even if you don’t have health insurance. If you do have insurance, your provider may seek reimbursement from your health insurance company. Regardless, you should not be charged. 

Are the vaccines safe to use?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. The vaccines have been through more safety testing than many other mandated and fully approved vaccines and the manufacturers have met all necessary safety requirements. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have each received emergency use authorization from the FDA and are waiting on the approval of the paperwork for full approval.

Where can I get vaccinated if I live in Denver?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. All three COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available here: https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

 

Child Care Mask Mandates

Are face coverings required in home-based childcare facilities?

All people ages 2 and older in licensed childcare facilities in the City and County of Denver are required to wear face coverings indoors.

Is anyone exempt from this mandate?

  • People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or otherwise living with a disability where fully observing facial expressions is essential to communication, including speech therapy.
  • Individuals who must temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes.
  • Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role, such as law enforcement, firefighters or emergency medical personnel.

Is it safe for children as young as 2 to wear a face covering?

Yes, according to the CDC, it is safe for children 2 years and older to wear a face covering. The current Denver Public Health Order requires face coverings be removed during naps and that nap mats be placed at least six-feet apart.

Do face coverings need to be worn at recess or during pick-up and drop-off?

Per the Public Health Order, face coverings are only required indoors at schools and childcare facilities, however each school or facility may implement additional policies that may require face covering outdoors.