vaccines

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, vaccinated people are 8.9 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated. (Courtesy photo)

On the heels of last week’s authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for use as boosters for adults ages 18 and over, San Miguel County health officials announced its latest vaccine clinics. Though state officials had already green-lighted expanded eligibility as Colorado wrestles with its hospital-straining surge of the coronavirus, last week’s announcement from federal agencies is good news.

According to a news release from San Miguel County, those 18 and older who have completed a primary FDA-authorized or approved COCVID-19 vaccination series can now receive a booster shot. Those individuals are: Moderna recipients who received their second dose at least six months ago; Pfizer recipients who received their second dose at least six months ago, and; Johnson and Johnson recipients who received their initial dose at least two months ago.

Governor Jared Polis had already authorized this group of Coloradans for boosters through executive order Nov. 11. The authorization came as the state has seen a sustained increase in COVID cases. On Saturday, Polis applauded the FDA approval on social media.

“The science is clear: everyone who got two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine needs a third dose for continued protection,” he said. “While it has been frustrating to watch an unelected board delay necessary boosters for Americans, today I’m glad to see the FDA finally take the right step forward in further protecting all Americans from COVID-19. In Colorado, booster doses are already available to every adult who wants one, as the science and data have been clear that an additional dose of this lifesaving, free, and effective vaccine offers additional immunity.”

Boosters, health care professionals said, can offer additional protection from breakthrough cases.

“Vaccination is the most important protection against COVID-19 and the long-term side effects of COVID-19,” county public health director Grace Franklin said. “While boosters are important for recharging your system’s immune response and preventing breakthrough infections, the initial series is effective and critical to protecting everybody from hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.”

Between county vaccination clinics and the return of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment’s (CDPHE) mobile vaccination clinics, there are plenty of opportunities to get an initial vaccination, a booster shot or a flu shot.

Public health clinics will offer first, second, third and booster doses, as well as pediatric doses for the 5-to-11-year-old group. Upcoming vaccination opportunities are as follows:

• Egnar COVID Vaccine Clinic: Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Egnar Fire Station.

• Moderna and flu: Thursday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., Telski Children’s Learning Center.

• Moderna and Pfizer: Friday, Dec. 3, from 3:30-5:30 p.m., Telluride Intermediate School Gym

• Pediatric Pfizer Clinic for 5-to11-year-olds, Tuesday, Dec. 7, from 2:15-4:45 p.m., Telluride Intermediate School Gym.

• Pfizer: Thursday, Dec. 9, from 12:30-3:30 p.m., Lone Cone Library in Norwood.

• Pediatric Pfizer Clinic for 5-to11-year-olds: Thursday, Dec. 9, from 3:45-4:30 p.m., Lone Cone Library in Norwood.

• Moderna and Pfizer: Friday, Dec. 17, from 3:30-5:30 p.m., Telluride Intermediate School Gym.

The CDPHE vaccine bus offering Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and flu shots rolls into town next week. Look for the bus Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Carhenge; Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Carhenge; Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 3-6 p.m. at Pig Palace at the Fairgrounds; Thursday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Blue Mesa parking lot off Mountain Village Blvd.

According to the CDPHE, vaccinated people are 8.9 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated.

Franklin gives public health updates at Board of County Commissioners meetings on a weekly basis, each Wednesday at approximately 12:45 p.m. Commissioners meetings take place via Zoom. To log in to meetings and view the agenda, or for complete information on testing, vaccines and metrics, visit sanmiguelcountyco.gov.