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Vaccination Information

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Vaccine Overview

There are two vaccines being produced, by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna. Both vaccines require two doses of the vaccine approximately 21 days apart. The companies report that both vaccines are around 95% effective.

Colorado expects that we will receive the first shipments of the vaccine in mid-December.

The City and County of Denver and the State of Colorado are ensuring that every person who receives their first dose will be able to access a second dose in the correct time frame. These efforts are also in partnership with the federal government.

The vaccine will be free, but some providers/pharmacies may ask for insurance so that they can bill for the vaccine administration fee. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, uninsured Coloradans will have access to free vaccines.

The vaccine will not be mandated by any agency/organization, as it is under Emergency Use Authorization.

Until the vaccine is widely available, we all need to continue following critical public health protocols. Wear a mask in public, maintain at least six feet of distance from others, avoid gatherings, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick.

Vaccine Safety

The vaccine will be distributed under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) after review and approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA independently reviews the information from these tests to make sure the vaccine is safe and works well, and then decides whether the vaccine can be licensed and made available to the public. This involves strict and rigorous approval protocols to ensure the safety of all vaccine recipients.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and the Governor’s Office have been reviewing available vaccine data and preliminary safety information and will continue their review as they receive EUA information. The safety of vaccine recipients is the priority of these reviews.

The vaccine is safe and effective, with an efficacy of approximately 95%.

Vaccine side effects are minimal, are similar to some COVID-19 symptoms, and last approximately one day. Side effects may include fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain and joint pain.

A diverse group of people participated in every phase of the clinical trials, including populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In Pfizer’s clinical trials, about 42% of volunteers identified as Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/a, or Native American. About 37% of volunteers for Moderna’s trials identified as Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/a, or other.

Phased Distribution/Prioritization

The initial supply of vaccines will be very limited and will be distributed in a swift, fair and efficient way. To slow the spread for everyone, Phase 1 prioritizes the highest risk health care workers and Coloradans who are most at risk for getting severely sick or even dying of COVID-19.

The first round of the vaccine will be provided by the federal government and will be distributed to healthcare workers and front-line first responders, including EMTs and Fire Fighters.

Over the next few months, those who are working in essential jobs and are at risk to exposure, such as teachers and those performing critical government functions, will be able to access the vaccine.

We recognize people are eager to get the vaccine right away, but the phased approach will help us protect workers and those that are most at-risk to have severe reactions or negative health outcomes due to COVID-19.

Once a vaccine is available to all Denver residents, we will provide information on available vaccine providers.


The State of Colorado is prepared to receive vaccines across the state as soon as December 12. An official timeline from CDPHE or the federal government has not yet been released.

There are currently no concerns that any vaccine production will be halted or interrupted. We fully anticipate broad vaccination for all individuals to be available sometime in 2021.

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, in partnership with health departments across the region, will continue to share information with the public as we receive it.

Frequently Asked Questions

View the latest FAQS provided by the State of Colorado

Colorado will receive a limited supply of the first available vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna. CDPHE does not yet know the quantity for the State or how much will be allocated to Denver.

Phase 1A and 1B of Colorado’s vaccine administration is focused on frontline healthcare workers. Counties in the Denver Metro Area are working to create guidance for partners to support prioritization within each Phase, which we are calling “micro-tiers.”

If changes to State’s prioritization are made, it will be publicly available at

Critical Infrastructure workers will be considered essential/critical infrastructure and may receive the vaccine in Phase 2A. Given the vaccine will be prioritized to protect individuals who may be exposed through necessary interactions with coworkers and the public, this vaccine wouldn’t be extended to the family of these individuals. Once the vaccine is available to the general public, vaccination clinics may be established by local government for remaining, non-vaccinated staff members and their families. 

It is estimated that the general population vaccination won’t be available until mid-2021.

While the cost of vaccine is free, many providers will be charging for the administration of the vaccine. If you seek care, including vaccination, through a provider, there may be a fee and you can utilize your insurance for payment. Coverage may vary based on your type of insurance.

The City and County of Denver is reaching out to organizations that are considered critical/essential in the pandemic response to ensure they have access to the vaccine in the correct phase.

Some people might be considered “essential” at their workplace or have been considered part of “critical infrastructure” for other emergency response planning, but for COVID-19, the State and federal government have refined the definitions of those groups to be specific to the needs and risks related to COVID-19.

Individuals designated to receive the vaccine in Phase 1 or Phase 2 will be notified by their employer or care provider. The general public and those who are at high risk can access the vaccine at their provider when the vaccine becomes widely available.

Initial guidance was provided at the federal level, including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The State of Colorado Governor’s Office, in consultation with CDPHE and other medical advisors, reviewed, edited and approved the current State guidance. The City and County of Denver will follow State guidance for vaccine prioritization. 



The City and County of Denver has enacted the "Adoption of Level Red-Severe Risk" Public Health Order. Effective at 5 p.m. Friday, November 20, the State is requiring Denver to adopt greater restrictions pursuant to the amended Colorado Public Health Order

All public and private gatherings of people who are not members of a single household are prohibited except for limited purposes.

Denver’s tougher face-covering mandate, issued on October 16, 2020, is also still in effect until further notice.

Have Questions or Looking For More Information?

To report an issue or for additional questions and assistance, please contact us at:

Within Denver, dial 3-1-1

Outside of Denver, dial 720-913-1311


Colorado’s call line for general questions about COVID-19 provides answers in many languages including English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话), and more.

303-389-1687 or
1-877-462-2911 (answers in English only)

 If you need medical attention, contact a health care provider.