Informed Choices - When We Don't Have All the Answers Yet
We all want this pandemic to be over, and for life to get easier.
We're tired, and we want easy answers.
The reality is, it's complicated.
Please, be kind to one another.
People may make choices we disagree with.
People may have private reasons that they don't want to discuss.
Things have been difficult for a really long time, and everyone has bad days.
We may be having a bad day ourselves.
But we can always treat one another with kindness & respect.
Get up-to-date information to make your best decisions.
Click on the Highlighted Text in these sections for links to more info or resources.
(This page is updated frequently: current as of 03 November 2021)
EVERYONE in the US age 5+ is eligible for vaccination.
Pfizer vaccine now approved & available for kids age 5-11.
Getting vaccinated will DECREASE your RISK of getting COVID-19.
A person is FULLY VACCINATED 14 days after completing their full vaccine set.
Even after you’ve been vaccinated, you are still at some risk.
It is still important to WEAR A MASK, WASH YOUR HANDS, and LIMIT EXPOSURE.
Pfizer vaccine has been fully FDA-Approved in the US as of 23 August 2021
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available in the US under Emergency Use Authorization ("EUA")
BOOSTER vaccines are recommended
2 months after initial Johnson & Johnson shot, or
6 months after completing initial 2-shot Pfizer or Moderna series for people:
Age 65 or older
Age 50+ with Underlying Health Conditions*
* includes: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Chronic Lung Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, active Cancer, Sickle Cell Disease, Pregnancy, Obesity, Immunoncompromised, Autoimmune Disease, and Substance Use Disorders
Age 18+ living or working in High Risk Facility**
** includes: nursing homes, group care homes, shelters, jails & prisons
Age 18+ working in a High Exposure Profession***
*** includes: First Responders (medical, law enforcement, fire, etc), School & Daycare workers, Food Service, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Corrections, Postal Service & Delivery, Public Transit, and Grocery
Age 18+ with Major Immunocompromise (as early as 28 days after initial shots)
If you are eligible for a Booster Vaccine in Colorado:
You will need your vaccine card or record of when you got your previous shot(s)
You will NOT need a doctor's order or other proof of health condition
"Mix-and-Match" is now officially allowed.
Dr Leto recommends:
For Pfizer or Moderna, use the SAME booster as your original vaccine series.
If your first shot was Johnson & Johnson, the Moderna booster is most effective.
(This is general guidance ~ Please discuss individual concerns with your doctor)
Vaccines for kids under age 12:
Pfizer is now approved & available for ages 5-11
WHAT WE KNOW and WHAT WE DON'T KNOW YET:
The vaccines are VERY EFFECTIVE in preventing SEVERE DISEASE and DEATH.
It is still possible - but MUCH less likely - for a vaccinated person to carry and spread the virus without being sick.
So, LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE:
avoid big public crowds and events
avoid indoor spaces without good air circulation
wear a mask indoors in close quarters with crowds
wear a mask when among strangers if you are not fully vaccinated
wear a mask when you visit with an unvaccinated person
wear a mask when you visit with an immunocompromised person
wear a mask if you visit a clinic or hospital
ALWAYS cover your cough!
ALWAYS wash your hands!
... and please GET TESTED if you are sick or have been exposed
None of the vaccines are approved yet for children under age 5 - STAY TUNED as we continue to learn about COVID-19 vaccines for babies & youngest children.
There are currently three versions of a vaccine currently available in the US:
Pfizer is an mRNA vaccine, given in 2 doses, 3 weeks apart
Moderna is an mRNA vaccine, given in 2 doses, 4 weeks apart
Johnson & Johnson is a DNA vaccine, given as a single dose
You should get the SAME version (Pfizer or Moderna) for BOTH your first and second shot.
Severe ALLERGIC REACTIONS are extremely rare (less than one in a milliion) but can be life-threatening. If you have a history of previous severe allergic reaction ("anaphylaxis"), you should receive your vaccine in a hospital or facility with full “crash cart” emergency services, and should remain waiting there for at least 30 minutes after the shot.
Common SIDE EFFECTS may include muscle aches, fever, fatigue, and headache, and can last 1-3 days. These temporary, unpleasant-but-not-dangerous reactions can be treated with Tylenol or Ibuprofen, and may be more common after the 2nd dose.
People with major diseases of the immune system, including autoimmune diseases, may be at slightly increased risk of immediate flares in their immune or autoimmune disease when they get vaccinated. We are still studying and watching for any long-term effects. On the other hand, people with major diseases of the immune system DO very clearly have a HIGH risk of hospitalization or death if they catch COVID-19 disease.
If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 (whether you got sick or not), you can still get vaccinated. If you were severely ill (hospitalized or treated with IV medications), you should wait at least 90 days from when you first tested positive before getting the vaccine.
Click here for QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT if you’re undecided about getting vaccinated
Learn more about each of the different COVID-19 Vaccines (from the CDC)
NYTimes: How the Pfizer vaccine works (currently AVAILABLE in the US)
NYTimes: How the Moderna vaccine works (currently AVAILABLE in the US)
NYTimes: How the Johnson & Johnson vaccine works (currently AVAILABLE in the US)
NYTimes: How the AstraZeneca vaccine works (not yet available in the US)
NYTimes: How the Novavax vaccine works (not yet available in the US)
The pandemic has disrupted my income, and I’m struggling to get by:
We’re supposed to stay home - but "home" isn’t a safe place for me:
The stress and isolation are really getting to me. Help!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255
Colorado Crisis Services 844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255
National Alliance on Mental Illness 800-950-6264
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Helpline 800-622-4357
Out! Boulder (LGBTQ support & resources): 303-499-5757
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ youth national crisis line) 866-488-7386
Questions & Answers with the Plague Doctor
The Plague Doctor has traveled far across the realms and the ages to visit and answer your questions.
Click on each box below for a conversation.
Scroll farther down for more local resources, information and helpful links.
Do YOU have a question for the Plague Doctor? Let us know!
LOCAL LINKS - click on the highlighted text to visit the link:
How much COVID-19 are we currently seeing in different parts of Colorado?
Where can I get a COVID-19 test near me?
What public health rules should my family and I be following right now?
What public health rules should my business be following right now?
When & how can I get a COVID-19 Vaccine in Colorado?
Learn more about all the different COVID-19 Vaccines (from the CDC)