Governor Issues His Own Order on Boosters

All of Colorado is at high risk, Polis says, and can have the shot
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 11, 2021 6:10 PM CST
Governor: All of High-Risk Colorado Can Have Boosters
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a news conference in March outside the governor's mansion in Denver. The state is dealing with a surge in new coronavirus cases.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Facing a surge in coronavirus infections that threatens to overwhelm Colorado hospitals, Gov. Jared Polis defied federal guidance on COVID-19 booster shots Thursday by issuing an order allowing all state residents 18 and older to get them. US Food and Drug Administration rules allow booster shots for those 18 and over who are at high risk of exposure to the virus. The FDA also permits boosters for people 65 and older, and adults with special medical conditions. Polis' order declares all of Colorado at high risk of infection, the AP reports, significantly expanding the number of residents eligible.

"Because disease spread is so significant across Colorado, all Coloradans who are 18 years of age and older are at high risk and qualify for a booster shot," the Democratic governor said in his order. Requests for comment from the FDA were not immediately returned on Thursday, a federal holiday. But at a White House briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasized the importance of getting boosters to those already eligible under the federal guidelines. She also stressed the importance of vaccinating children ages 5-11.

Polis has emphasized vaccinations in fighting the surge that officials worry could overwhelm the state's hospital capacity by the end of the year. He's also expressed frustration with the federal government's authorization of vaccines and their distribution. "The governor has been disappointed with the overly complex message from the CDC and the FDA on boosters and won't allow that to harm Coloradans," a Polis spokesman said Thursday. Polis' order allows vaccine providers to give booster shots to everyone who received the double-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least six months ago. People who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can get a booster at least two months later.

(More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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