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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Omicron boosters available as Larimer County enters winter

Omicron+boosters+available+as+Larimer+County+enters+winter

Collegian | Dylan Tusinski

Piper Russell, News Editor

Omicron-specific booster shots for COVID-19 are now available in Larimer County. 

According to Larimer County’s COVID-19 vaccine webpage, Pfizer boosters are available to people aged 12 years and older, and Moderna boosters are available to people aged 18 years and older. The website also states booster vaccines are approved for people who have had their “initial vaccine series or their most recent booster dose” at least two months ago. 

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Paul Mayer, medical officer for the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, spoke about the decrease in the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine over time as the virus mutates, and that’s why companies are working on developing new vaccines that specifically target the latest variant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, the omicron variant hit the U.S. hardest between December 2021 and January 2022. 

“There (are) real challenges in that, though: Because it takes a while to develop a vaccine and the virus mutates so quickly, you get behind very fast,” Mayer said. 

“It does look to be true that as a consistent finding, the vaccines are very effective at keeping you from being hospitalized or dying of COVID, and that’s one of the reasons why we really emphasize people to get the vaccines.” –Paul Mayer, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment medical officer

People 12-17 years old can only get the Pfizer booster because it’s the only one that has been approved for that age group, Mayer explained. He said it depends on what approvals drug companies ask for and that the vaccines are “remarkably similar.” 

The CDC states the omicron variant spreads more easily than past variants but “causes less severe illness and death in general.” The CDC goes on to state vaccines can “help prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and death” and that “the emergence of the omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.” The CDC encourages people to stay up to date on their vaccines. 

The new boosters are effective in keeping people from getting COVID-19, Mayer said. Mayer and Kori Wilford, manager of communications and technology for LCDHE, both spoke about their encouragement to people to get vaccinated and booster shots. 

“It does look to be true that as a consistent finding, the vaccines are very effective at keeping you from being hospitalized or dying of COVID, and that’s one of the reasons why we really emphasize people to get the vaccines,” Mayer said. 

Wilford went on to say that over the past few years, late fall is when they’ve seen more COVID-19 cases. 

“We really encourage folks to consider getting the COVID booster and the flu shot as we move into these cooler winter months,” Wilford said. 

There are still plenty of boosters, and there are no shortages of vaccines when they first become available, Wilford said. As of Sept. 28, 69.8% of Larimer County residents are vaccinated. Omicron boosters are available at Front Range Community College; UCHealth; some King Soopers, Walgreens and Walmart locations; and various other locations that can be found on Larimer County’s website.

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Appointments for booster doses can be scheduled on Larimer County’s COVID-19 vaccine registration system or by calling its Joint Information Center at 970-498-5500. 

Reach Piper Russell at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PiperRussell10.

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About the Writer
Photo of Piper Russell
Piper Russell, News Editor

Piper Russell is one of The Collegian’s news editors this year and is thrilled to be working in the role. She started as a news reporter her sophomore...

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