Dec 8, 2021 - COVID

Colorado reports Omicron spread and redoubles push for booster shots

Data: CDC; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Omicron's arrival in Colorado and the approaching holidays are leading public health experts to redouble efforts to promote the COVID-19 vaccine.

Driving the news: The focus comes as the state confirmed for the first time Tuesday that it found low-level community spread of the Omicron variant in Boulder County based on wastewater surveillance.

What they're saying: "One of the most important things Coloradans can do right now is to make sure their immune systems are ready to encounter Omicron," state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said at a briefing.

What's new: Public health officials presented new numbers to help convince people to get their booster shots. "We are starting to see the clear impact of the booster doses in protecting people," Herlihy said.

  • People who received booster shots are 2.4 times less likely to contract COVID-19 than those who received the standard two-dose regimen and 3.3 times less likely to be hospitalized, the state reported.
  • "If you're skeptical of the vaccine, just look at the math," Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday.

State of play: One-third of Colorado adults have received their booster shots so far, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • 75% of adults are vaccinated.
  • When factoring in children 5 and older, the proportion of the eligible population that is fully immunized falls to 64%, state data shows.

The big picture: CDC data shows vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, Axios' Tina Reed writes.

  • The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.
  • Much of the uptick is because vaccinated people are getting boosters, not because of a surge in unvaccinated people seeking their first shots, the Washington Post writes.

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