Colorado Approves Vaccine Booster For All Adults

Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order declaring the entire state to be at high risk from exposure and urged boosters for any adult who had enough time pass since the initial doses.

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Colorado’s governor says high risk to the virus makes all vaccinated adults eligible for boosters.

A patient waited to be called for a booster shot at a grocery store pharmacy in Denver this month.Credit…David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Published Nov. 11, 2021Updated Nov. 12, 2021, 4:12 a.m. ET

Citing the pervasive spread of the coronavirus across Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis said on Thursday that all adults would be eligible for a booster shot because of their high risk of exposure, assuming that enough time had passed since their initial doses.

Mr. Polis, a Democrat, signed an executive order declaring the entire state at high risk from exposure and urged boosters for any adult at least six months past the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two months past the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Federal regulators have said that adults who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are eligible for a booster if they are 65 or older, or if they are at increased risk because of medical conditions or where they work or live. People who got the Johnson & Johnson shot, which is available only to adults, are eligible. Those getting boosters can select any of the three vaccine brands.

On Tuesday, Pfizer and BioNTech asked the Food and Drug Administration to expand eligibility for their boosters to all adults. If the regulators sign off on that request, it would make official what health authorities say they already see happening frequently. Many people appear to be getting boosters whether or not they are technically eligible.

A growing body of early global research has shown that the vaccines available in the United States have remained highly protective against the disease’s worst outcomes over time, even during the summer surge of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

A number of published studies show that their protection against infection, with or without symptoms, has fallen. Public health experts say it does not mean the vaccines are not working. But the significance of waning effectiveness — and whether it suggests that all adults should be eligible for a booster — is still up for debate.

Mr. Polis’s order justified broadening access to boosters by saying that since the entire state of Colorado has seen significant spread of the virus, it qualified as the kind of high-risk environment for which federal regulators cleared boosters.

“We want to ensure that Coloradans have every tool they need to protect themselves from this deadly virus and to help reduce the stress on our hospitals and health care workers,” the governor said in a statement.

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4,000 cases

Apr. 2020

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Nov.

Dec.

Jan. 2021

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7-day average

3,659
Source: State and local health agencies. Daily cases are the number of new cases reported each day. The seven-day average is the average of a day and the previous six days of data.

The order comes as Colorado faces its highest surge of virus cases in a year. As of Wednesday, the daily average of new cases was up 42 percent and average new deaths were up 52 percent over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database.

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