COVID-19 vaccine FAQ: Guide to the coronavirus vaccination process in Larimer County
As the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed in Larimer County, there won’t be enough for everyone who wants one immediately. To help the community make sense of this process, the Coloradoan has created this guide that will be regularly updated. The information has been gathered from state and county health officials.
As of April 2, every Coloradan age 16 and up will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. State officials estimate everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get their first dose by the end of May.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for those age 16 and up. Those age 18 and up can get the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Larimer County health officials hope to have 65% of the county population vaccinated with at least one dose by May 25. That percentage in combination with the approximately 25% of residents who have had COVID-19 and still have some natural immunity will hopefully get the county to herd immunity, health director Tom Gonzales said.
As of April 7, 33.9% of Larimer County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 20.8% are fully vaccinated.
As of April 7, here's where Larimer County stands with vaccine distribution:
- 195,506 total doses administered
- 121,101 first doses administered
- 74,405 residents fully vaccinated
- 78.3% of residents ages 70 and older with at least one dose
- 73.5% of residents ages 70 and older fully vaccinated
Larimer County's population is estimated to be at least 360,000.
A Federal Emergency Management Agency-operated mass vaccination site officially opened at The Ranch in Loveland on March 24. The site plans to ramp up to administering 2,000 vaccines per day the week of March 29, with the capacity to administer about 6,000 vaccines per day when supply allows.
Who is next in line for the COVID vaccine?
All Coloradans age 16 and up are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as of April 2.
Just because you become eligible for the vaccine doesn't mean you'll immediately be able to make an appointment, Gov. Jared Polis said. With about half of the state population being eligible for the vaccine, it is expected to take several weeks for everyone who is eligible to receive their first dose.
Those 16 and up can get the Pfizer vaccine, Polis said. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only approved for those age 18 and up.
'Never waste a dose':How Larimer County health care providers give out extra COVID vaccines
How do I sign up to get a COVID vaccine when it's my turn?
The Larimer County health department has online forms residents can fill out to be contacted when a vaccine appointment becomes available.
Sign-up forms can be found online at www.larimer.org/health/communicable-disease/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-vaccine.
All Larimer County vaccine providers use the same spreadsheet created from these form responses, Gonzales said.
People can also go directly through their health care provider, like UCHealth or Banner, for a vaccine appointment. Pharmacies including Walgreens, Walmart and King Soopers are also offering appointments.
What do I do if I'm having trouble making a COVID vaccine appointment?
For those who need help navigating the vaccine appointment system, the county and state have set up a few ways folks can contact someone to help:
- Call the Larimer County health department: 970-498-5500 (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday)
- Text the Larimer County health department: 970-999-1770
- Email the Larimer County health department: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the 24/7 Colorado vaccine call center: 877-CO VAX CO (877-286-2962)
I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine. Now what?
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose, and people are considered fully protected two weeks after they receive their shot.
If you got the Pfizer vaccine, you'll need your second dose about 21 days after your first one. The Moderna vaccine's second dose should be administered about 28 days after your first dose.
According to the CDC, the second doses of these vaccines can be administered up to four days early or six weeks (42 days) later.
Moderna and Pfizer vaccines both require two doses to be fully effective, but they are about 60% to 70% effective after the first dose, Larimer County Medical Director Chris Urbina said.
After the second dose, both vaccines are about 95% effective at preventing severe illness due to COVID-19, Urbina said. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of the vaccine.
For a comparison, Urbina said the annual flu vaccine is anywhere from 25% to 60% effective.
I'm fully vaccinated against COVID. Do I still have to wear a mask?
Masks will still be needed for months as health officials work to distribute vaccines to the general public.
State health department Chief Medical Officer Eric France said 70% of the state's population will need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
Polis said they estimate everyone who wants a vaccine will likely be able to get their first by the end of May, and second doses by the end of June. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of the vaccines, so it's likely most people will be fully protected against COVID-19 by mid-summer, Polis said.
The CDC on March 8 released new guidance that said those who have received a full course of COVID-19 vaccine may get together with other fully vaccinated individuals in small groups inside their homes without masks or physical distancing.
Useful COVID vaccine links
Larimer County Department of Public Health and Environment: www.larimer.org/health/communicable-disease/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-vaccine
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-for-coloradans
March COVID-19 tracker:Larimer County and Colorado COVID-19 case, vaccine and hospital data for March 2021
Sady Swanson covers public safety, criminal justice, Larimer County government and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.