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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Gov. Jared Polis is suggesting that large numbers of people should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot — even though federal regulators and Colorado public health officials say it's not needed.

In public remarks earlier this month, the Democratic governor noted that some people are getting a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine by using fake names or addresses. He says he meant it as a tip.

  • "That's a hint to people that they can do that," Polis told Axios Denver in an exclusive interview.

Why it matters: Polis' nudge came two weeks before the Food and Drug Administration authorized an additional coronavirus vaccine dose in limited circumstances.

  • Federal authorities said Thursday a third shot is only needed for immuno-compromised people, including those who were treated for cancer and organ transplant patients.

The intrigue: The governor is urging the FDA to go even further, citing evidence he's read that boosters are helpful for those age 60 and older, as well as those with weakened immune systems.

  • "I believe in empowering people to make that choice," Polis said.

Of note: Polis, 46, added people his age are not likely to need an additional shot.

By the numbers: More than 7,100 people in Colorado received a third vaccine dose before the federal government's new guidance, state officials told The Denver Post.

  • That's about 0.2% of all people who've received a shot, but the data is potentially flawed, officials said.

The other side: The Polis administration's top public health officials are offering counter guidance, saying they will follow the federal recommendations.

  • The state's COVID-19 vaccine information page even states that "people who are fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time."
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Go deeper

Colorado's Jared Polis weds in first same-sex marriage for sitting governor

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and his partner, Marlon Reis, meeting a terrier. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images.

Colorado's Jared Polis (D) married his partner, Marlon Reis, on Wednesday, becoming the first sitting governor to have a same-sex wedding.

The big picture: Polis became the first openly gay man elected governor in November 2018, four years after the state legalized same-sex marriage.

John Frank, author of Denver
Sep 15, 2021 - News

Heidi Ganahl levels attacks and dodges Trump in campaign launch

Heidi Ganahl announcing her campaign for governor in Monument. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Republican Heidi Ganahl on Tuesday listed in quick succession the problems in Colorado that are driving her run for governor — high gas prices, a mental health crisis, inflation, unemployment and increased violent crime.

The big picture: And she leveled not-so-veiled attacks against Democrat Jared Polis, the nation's first openly gay elected governor, the Denver Post reports.

Sep 15, 2021 - 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.

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