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Polis says Coloradans may need booster to be “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19

Nearly 44% of vaccinated Coloradans have received booster dose, according to state data


Coloradans may need to receive COVID-19 booster shots in order to be considered “fully vaccinated” against the virus, Gov. Jared Polis said Sunday during an interview with NBC News’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”

Polis said the third shot of a COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be considered a booster, but rather a necessary dose. Todd on Sunday asked whether Polis would “change the definition of fully vaccinated” in Colorado.

“That’s certainly where it’s headed, Chuck,” Polis said. “It looks like from everything that we know that to significantly reduce the risk of the omicron variant, three doses of the vaccine are needed… It’s three doses of that vaccine to be effective. So I wish they’d stop talking about it as a booster, Chuck. It really is a three-dose vaccine. And every piece of data that we’re seeing… shows that that’s the case.”

It was not clear how changing the definition of “fully vaccinated” would apply to Colorado’s current mandate that health care workers be fully vaccinated and most state employees be either fully vaccinated or submit to twice-weekly testing.

“…Science and data shows that Coloradans who have received all three doses of the vaccine are 47 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID than unvaccinated people, and this is certainly a fact-based option the administration is exploring for the state’s workforce,” Conor Cahill, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said in a statement Sunday. “That said, while it is up to the CDC to determine the definition of fully vaccinated, the governor thinks the evidence couldn’t be more clear that three doses are needed for sustained protection even more so against omicron.”

Nearly 69% of eligible Coloradans are fully vaccinated with one shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and 43.5% of the vaccinated population also has received a booster shot, according to state data.

People are eligible for boosters doses two months after their Johnson & Johnson shot or six months after completing the Pfizer or Moderna series.

More than 10,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Colorado, according state records. More than one in four of those people died after COVID-19 vaccines were widely available, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Polis last week urged Coloradans to get the booster shot as the fast-spreading omicron variant begins to be seen in the state.

New cases of COVID-19 are currently falling in Colorado, with dropping numbers of both hospitalizations and the percentage of tests coming back positive. State data shows about 86% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.