Frequently Asked Questions

Face Covering Guidance

Is it required to wear a face covering in Denver?

Face coverings are only required to be worn in certain settings in Denver including in schools and childcare facilities, when using public transportation and in transportation hubs, and for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff, residents, and visitors in jails, homeless shelters, and emergency medical and other healthcare settings. 

Face coverings are still highly recommended for those who are immunocompromised and those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated or boosted. Face coverings provide an added layer of protection for those who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

Why was the public health order requiring face coverings indoors allowed to expire?

The public health order requiring face coverings be worn in all indoor settings expired on Feb. 4, 2022. Due to rapidly declining COVID-19 cases, stabilized hospitalization rates, and free and easy access to vaccines and boosters, the order was not extended. Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters, is the best way to protect against severe disease.

Other proven public health controls and personal precautions, like wearing a face covering when in crowded indoor settings, frequent hand washing/sanitizing and staying at home when sick are recommended.


What are the benefits of wearing a face covering?

Though COVID-19 cases are decreasing, the virus still poses a considerable risk to the community and hospital system. Many Denverites are vaccinated, however, other measures are necessary to slow the transmission of COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can spread the virus before symptoms appear or can be asymptomatic. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can unknowingly spread the virus to others. Wearing a face covering is a safe and effective way to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

In what circumstances are face coverings required in Denver?

There is a federal mandate in effect which requires all individuals 2 years of age or older to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering, inside or moving within any public indoor space at transportation hubs such as airports and train stations. Masks must also be worn on public transportation like planes, trains, buses and ride share services like Uber and Lyft.

Additionally, Denver’s everyone ages 2 or older is required to wear a face covering indoors at schools and childcare facilities.

Per the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, face coverings are required for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff, residents, and visitors in jails, homeless shelters, and emergency medical and other healthcare settings.

Can a business or venue require that I wear a face covering or show proof of vaccination?

Yes, Denver businesses are legally able to require face coverings or proof of vaccination. Denver supports businesses and venues that decide to continue requiring face coverings or proof of vaccination as added safety measures and ask Denver residents to respect the decisions of businesses who do so.

Is it a threat to our health if we breathe air through a cloth face covering?

No. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) specifically recommends wearing a cloth or other suitable face covering to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

General Vaccine Questions

What is the FDA approval status of the vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention on COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine also has full FDA approval for individuals 18 years and older.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for emergency use for individuals 18 and older.

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for emergency use in children ages 5-15.

All vaccines are safe and have been confirmed to meet the FDA's rigorous scientific standards.

Are the vaccines safe to use?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. The vaccines have been through more safety testing than many other mandated and fully approved vaccines and the manufacturers have met all necessary safety requirements. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been fully approved by the FDA. Johnson & Johnson has received emergency use authorization from the FDA and is waiting on the approval of the paperwork for full approval.

Where can I get vaccinated if I live in Denver?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. All three COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available here: https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

Some people experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind that these side effects are indicators that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine.

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I receive?

Yes, you can determine which vaccine to get. All three are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at: https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

Is it true that COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue?

No, that is false. None of the vaccines -- the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine contain fetal cells.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility or increase the chances of a woman miscarrying?

COVID-19 vaccines have not been linked to infertility or miscarriage. A sophisticated disinformation campaign has been circulating online, claiming that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19 produced from these vaccines will bind to placental proteins and prevent pregnancy. This disinformation is thought to originate from internet postings by a former scientist known to hold anti-vaccine views.

While there are no formal studies, the best evidence comes from women who got sick with COVID-19 while pregnant. While data clearly indicates pregnant women are at higher risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, there is no evidence of increased miscarriage rates. During natural infection, the immune system generates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. Thus, if COVID-19 affected fertility, there already would be an increase in miscarriage rates in women infected with COVID-19. This has not happened.

If I have already had COVID-19, do I still need to be vaccinated?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover, but we do know that vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

Should I get a booster vaccine?

Yes, booster shots are necessary for the highest level of protection against COVID-19. You should get a booster if you:

  • Are 12 or older and received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least five months ago.
  • Are 18 and older and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.


Vaccines for those aged 5-11

Why should I get my child (aged 5-11) vaccinated against COVID-19?

Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can get sick from COVID-19 and spread COVID-19 to others. Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective method in preventing infection, severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 in both children and adults. Additionally, widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic Protect your child, your family, and your community by vaccinating those 5 years and older.  

What is the approval status of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the prevention on COVID-19 disease in individuals aged 5-11. Vaccines are safe and have been confirmed to meet the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards.  

What are the risks associated with getting a COVID-19 vaccine in this age group?

Adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are extremely rare. The known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the potential risks associate with vaccination. It’s possible you may experience short-term mild or moderate reactions after receiving the vaccine, but those side effect resolve quickly.  

What are the side effects of the vaccine on children aged 5-11?

Similar to those in older age groups, some children experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve quickly including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind that these side effects are indicators that the immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine. 

Are children aged 5-11 given the same vaccine dosage as adults?

No. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11 is comprised of two, 10-microgram doses, administered 21 days apart.  

How effective is the vaccine in children?

Pfizer’s clinical trials showed that the vaccine for children ages 12-15 years was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. The vaccine for children ages 5-11 years was about 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. Both vaccines were 100% effective in preventing severe disease and death. 

Where can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and health care partners across the city. COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Many providers are taking advance COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children ages 5-11. 

Beginning Friday, November 5, CDPHE is partnering with Children’s Hospital Colorado to offer vaccine clinics for children ages 5-11. Find clinic dates and sign up for an appointment in advance.

If you have specific questions, contact your child’s pediatrician. 

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on our website, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

How can I protect unvaccinated family members, including children that are too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Protect unvaccinated family members by vaccinating those 5 years and older and wearing a face covering in all indoor public spaces.Do NOT put face coverings on children under 2 years of age.

Booster Shots

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends boosters for individuals who:

  • Are 12 or older and received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least five months ago.
  • Are 18 and older and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.

Can I “mix and match” the COVID-19 primary series and booster shot I receive?

The FDA and CDC have now approved the “mixing and matching” of COVID-19 primary series and booster shots meaning that eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. The availability of type of vaccine may vary by provider. 

What are the risks associated with getting a booster shot?

Similar to the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, some people experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve quickly including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind these side effects are indicators that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine. 

Am I still considered “fully vaccinated” if I don’t get a booster shot?

Yes. Everyone is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks following their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Why do I need a booster shot?

While COVID-19 vaccines are working well to protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death, public health experts are beginning to see reduced protection likely due to waning immunity and the emergence of new variants. Clinical trials showed that a booster shot increased the immune response of participants.

Where can I get a booster shot?

COVID-19 booster shots are readily available through pharmacies and health care partners across the city. All three COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on our Get A Vaccine website, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines

Public Health Order: Vaccine Mandates

Why is the city lifting the mandate requiring employees in high-risk settings be vaccinated?

Community transmission of COVID-19 in Denver is now under 5% and 90% of Coloradans now have some antibody protections against Omicron through vaccination, prior infection or both. The incidence of severe disease and death has declined significantly and is virtually non-existent for those who have been vaccinated and boosted.  As a result, hospital capacity has stabilized. Vaccines and booster doses are also readily available. Current circumstances allow us to transition to a longer-term approach that treats COVID-19 as an endemic disease and reserves public health orders for urgent situations. 

Is it safe to lift the vaccine mandate now?

Yes, people who are fully vaccinated and boosted are at very low risk for severe disease. Hospitalization and case rates are dropping quickly, and modeling suggests that lifting the public health order will not have a negative impact on the current data trends. Children under the age of 5 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine are at very low risk for severe disease. 

Can the city implement a new vaccine mandate in the future?

Yes. The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our community and may issue new public health orders in the future if data shows it will protect community health. 

What should I do if I was fired from my job for not complying with the vaccination mandate?

Check with your employer. Each employer can make a determination as to whether they will continue to require vaccination and whether employees who were fired are eligible for rehire.

What should I do if I quit my job as a result of the vaccination mandate?

People who quit their job as a result of the vaccination mandate can reach out to employers to understand whether they are still requiring vaccination and whether they are eligible to be hired. 

How does the end of Denver’s vaccination mandate impact the existing federal or state vaccination mandates in place?

While Denver’s vaccination mandate for people working in high-risk settings and for city employees has been lifted, some people are still required to be vaccinated per State or Federal regulations, or by company policy. 

The State of Colorado requires all state employees, contractors and vendors to report their vaccination status in the state-provided tracking system as either fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. For employees who’ve decided not to get vaccinated or reveal their status, they must undergo biweekly COVID-19 testing, under state rules. 

The Colorado Board of Health first approved an emergency rule requiring vaccination for health care personnel on Aug. 30, 2021. On Dec. 15, 2021, the Board extended the emergency rule for 120 days (April 14, 2022). The rule affects all licensed health care entities. It requires them to mandate personnel to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes employees, direct contractors, and support staff who interact with people receiving or seeking medical care. The rule allows for both medical and religious exemptions for personnel who are unable to be vaccinated. 

Some federal employees and contractors are required to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires that health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid are fully vaccinated.

Are face coverings recommended in the workplace?

If employees are up to date with their vaccinations, face coverings are not necessary. There are certain facilities where employees, regardless of vaccination status, may still need to wear face coverings based on state and federal law, including in transportation facilities like Denver International Airport and in medical facilities. For those who are immunocompromised, face coverings can provide an extra layer of protection. Face coverings are strongly recommended for those who are unvaccinated.

  

Proof of Vaccination/Vaccine Availability

How do I show proof of vaccination?

Your vaccination card is proof of vaccination. You can also access the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization

You should follow your employer’s process to show proof of vaccination.  

What if I can’t find my vaccination card?

If you got your vaccine in Colorado, patients and guardians of minors can now use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of their immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

You can also download the myColorado App and click on the myVaccine Record section. The app may require additional log-in information to access the record the first time. 

How do I replace or get a copy of my vaccination card?

You can reach out to your vaccine provider to see if they can offer a replacement. 

If you got your vaccine in Colorado, you can also use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

Can I use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) as proof of vaccination?

Yes, you can both view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

What if my vaccination record is not in the Colorado’s immunization database?

If you are unable to access immunization records through the Public Portal, please call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) for assistance. 

Where can I go to become vaccinated?

Vaccines are free and readily available, and no documentation or insurance is needed. To learn more and find out where to get a free vaccine: 

Is the vaccine free? Do I need to show proof of insurance?

The vaccine is free. Providers should not ask you to pay for the vaccine or other administrative costs, even if you don’t have health insurance. If you do have insurance, your provider may seek reimbursement from your health insurance company. Regardless, you should not be charged. 

Are the vaccines safe to use?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. The vaccines have been through more safety testing than many other mandated and fully approved vaccines and the manufacturers have met all necessary safety requirements. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have each received emergency use authorization from the FDA and are waiting on the approval of the paperwork for full approval.

Where can I get vaccinated if I live in Denver?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. All three COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available here: https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

School and Child Care Mask Mandates

Does the Public Health Order require face coverings in private schools?

Yes, all schools and childcare facilities in the City and County of Denver are covered by this order.

Are face coverings required in home-based childcare facilities?

All people ages 2 and older in licensed childcare facilities in the City and County of Denver are required to wear face coverings indoors.

Where are face coverings required under the new Public Health Order?

Face coverings are required to be worn at all times indoors at schools and childcare facilities. Under the order, face coverings are not required to be worn outdoors at these facilities, though each school may implement additional outdoor masking requirements at their discretion.

How will the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) enforce this policy?

The goal is education to get compliance. Similar to other public health orders in Denver, DDPHE will conduct proactive compliance checks and respond to complaints. Violations of the public health order are subject to an administrative fine as well as criminal charges that allow for up to 300 days in jail.

Why is Denver implementing a vaccination requirement?

While Denver’s current vaccination rate is more than 72%, cases of COVID-19 are increasing in our community including cases of the highly contagious Delta variant. More of our residents need to be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus before fall and winter months, when respiratory illnesses traditionally increase. Vaccination is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and bolster our economic recovery. 

Is anyone exempt from this mandate?

  • People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or otherwise living with a disability where fully observing facial expressions is essential to communication, including speech therapy.
  • Individuals who must temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes.
  • Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role, such as law enforcement, firefighters or emergency medical personnel.

Will parents / volunteers be required to wear face coverings when entering school/childcare property?

Yes, in order to provide the highest level of protection, everyone ages 2 and up must wear a face covering when indoors at schools and childcare facilities, regardless of vaccination status.

What if my child is vaccinated?

Everyone ages 2 and up must wear a face covering when indoors at schools and childcare facilities, regardless of vaccination status.

Do exemptions exist for philosophical or religious reasons?

No, there are not exemptions to the face covering requirement for religious or philosophical reasons.

Can face covering be removed when eating and drinking?

Face coverings may be removed when seated during meal and snack time and while actively eating and drinking.

Is it safe for children as young as 2 to wear a face covering?

Yes, according to the CDC, it is safe for children 2 years and older to wear a face covering. The current Denver Public Health Order requires face coverings be removed during naps and that nap mats be placed at least six-feet apart.

Do face coverings need to be worn at recess or during pick-up and drop-off?

Per the Public Health Order, face coverings are only required indoors at schools and childcare facilities, however each school or facility may implement additional policies that may require face covering outdoors.

Do face coverings need to be worn during indoor sports activities at schools and childcare facilities?

The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) is following all local public health mandates