Aug 16, 2021 - COVID

Colorado governor encourages more to get COVID vaccine booster

Illustration of a syringe as a rocket propelling through the atmosphere

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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