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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The state’s chief executive continues to urge Coloradans to get COVID-19 booster shots, even though federal regulators aren’t likely to begin offering them to the general public until Sept. 20.

In a briefing Monday, Gov. Jared Polis said people should "beat the rush" by getting the third dose this week and stressed that providers are offering boosters "to really anybody who asks."

  • "We made it so Coloradans can simply self-report their conditions," he said. "You can simply say, 'I have a weak immune system,' and that therefore you need the shot."

Why it matters: The Democratic governor continues to tell Coloradans to flout federal rules and has become increasingly critical of the Food and Drug Administration’s handling of the vaccine rollout.

  • As Axios Denver first reported, Polis pushed the booster two weeks before the FDA authorized third vaccines for immune-compromised people.
  • On Monday, Polis scolded the FDA for its pace in approving vaccines for kids ages 6 to 11 and for failing to recommend boosters for Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients.

By the numbers: More than 72,000 people in Colorado have received a third dose, state officials said Monday.

  • That’s about 2.4% of all eligible adults — a figure that’s expected to increase rapidly in the coming weeks.

State of play: Colorado is actively gearing up to deploy third doses, and officials say providers will be able to administer over 645,000 doses each week — more than enough to meet the estimated demand.

  • Still, Polis says Coloradans may struggle to secure boosters for now due to an initial spike in interest.
  • Officials are setting up small- and mid-scale drive-thru sites as well as working with medical providers and retail pharmacies to prepare.

The intrigue: As of July 21, state officials estimated that more than 350,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines are slated to expire by the end of September, 9News reports.

The other side: A new review by an international group of 18 scientists disagrees that third shots are necessary for most people and argues the doses should first be offered in countries where few people are vaccinated.

  • The scientists say the protection from the first COVID-19 shots is still sufficient against serious illness in people under age 75 who aren’t immunocompromised.
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Go deeper

Sep 15, 2021 - World

EU pledges 200 million vaccine doses to Africa, low-income nations

Photo: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP via Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the bloc would donate an additional 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses to Africa and low-income nations, AP reports.

Why it matters: The new donation, slated to be delivered by the middle of next year, comes as confirmed cases of the coronavirus have reached 225 million globally.

Sep 15, 2021 - News

Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap

Expand chart
Reproduced from Denver Public Health; Chart: Axios Visuals

COVID-19 vaccination rates among Hispanic people and Latinos continue to lag behind all other ethnicities in Denver — and the division appears to be widening.

Driving the news: Over the past few weeks, city health officials have ramped up vaccine outreach at K–12 public schools to target students and their families.

19 hours ago - Science

Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data

A box of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia. Photo: Algi Febri Sugita/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Moderna vaccine's efficacy declines a year after it's administered, compared to protection seen in recently inoculated individuals, the vaccine maker announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: Moderna made its case for supporting booster shots, citing clinical trial data that demonstrate breakthrough infections are less common among participants approximately eight months after receiving the first dose compared to approximately 13 months.