The vaccine will be distributed under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) after review and approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA independently reviews the information from these tests to make sure the vaccine is safe and works well, and then decides whether the vaccine can be licensed and made available to the public. This involves strict and rigorous approval protocols to ensure the safety of all vaccine recipients.
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and the Governor’s Office have been reviewing available vaccine data and preliminary safety information and will continue their review as they receive EUA information. The safety of vaccine recipients is the priority of these reviews.
The vaccine is safe and effective, with an efficacy of approximately 95%. Vaccine side effects are minimal, are similar to some COVID-19 symptoms, and last approximately one day. Side effects may include fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain and joint pain.
A diverse group of people participated in every phase of the clinical trials, including populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In Pfizer’s clinical trials, about 42% of volunteers identified as Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/a, or Native American. About 37% of volunteers for Moderna’s trials identified as Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/a, or other.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the COVID vaccines safe?
COVID-19 vaccines go through the same rigorous safety assessment as all vaccines before they are authorized or approved for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. This process includes large clinical trials and data review by a safety monitoring board.
Are the COVID vaccines safe for older adults and children?
There are not yet data available about safety for children. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are shown to be safe for older adults. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved via the EUA for people who are ages 16 and older.
Will the vaccine make me sick?
The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain a live virus and do not carry a risk of causing disease in the vaccinated person. Possible side effects are minimal and last about one day. These may include soreness around the vaccination site, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain and joint pain. If you have any serious side effects, you should contact your health care provider.
What about the warning of vaccines for people with allergies?
We do not have information at this time about reactions among people who have allergies. We will know more when the Food and Drug Administration releases the Emergency Use Authorization.
If I’ve had a vaccination, should I still wear a mask or physical distance?
Yes. Both Moderna and Pfizer are shown to be about 95% effective in preventing the person who is vaccinated from contracting the disease. That means there is still risk you could get the virus and pass it on to others. Until everyone has received the vaccine we won’t know who has and who hasn’t received it, so wearing a mask and physical distancing will still be part of our lives until we have a better understanding of the broad level of protection. Until there is widespread vaccine availability and distribution, we'll need to rely on reducing in-person gatherings, maintaining physical distancing, and wearing masks.
Can I still get COVID-19 even after I’ve been vaccinated?
Yes. Both Moderna and Pfizer are shown to be about 95% effective in preventing you from contracting COVID-19. That means there is still some risk you could get the virus.
What should I do if I have a reaction or side effects after I receive the vaccine?
All adverse reactions should be reported to a provider. Each person receiving the vaccine will receive information about how to report any adverse reactions. They also will be provided with a list of common side effects that shouldn’t be considered dangerous or need to be reported. If you have a reaction requiring medical attention, call 911 (emergency) or your provider. These visits should be covered by your health insurance.
How could safe, effective vaccines have been developed so quickly?
Creating vaccines for COVID viruses allows for a more rapid, targeted approach to vaccine development. Testing meets the minimum standard of the Federal Drug Administration for approval under Emergency Use Authorization.
Are there security needs for vaccine or supplies?
Denver Office of Emergency Management and Denver Police Department are working closely with the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC) to monitor for and communicate to partners any credible threats.