COVID-19 Vaccine Information & FAQ

Find information, receive updates, and see AFM’s plan for vaccine distribution.

We are following guidelines from the state of Colorado to distribute Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccines to patients 70 years old and over. AFM will contact patients as supplies become available. Please do not call to inquire about the vaccine. At this time, there is not enough of the COVID-19 vaccine to offer it to everyone. As we receive shipments of the vaccine, we are providing it as quickly as possible according to the state’s plan.

Interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

Here’s what to do:

  1. Sign up for notifications from Larimer County Public Health on when and how you can get the vaccine.
  2. Make sure you have a My Health Connection account. If you do not have an account, create one here.
  3. Contact Larimer County Public Health with COVID-19 questions. Call (970) 498-5500, text (970) 999-1770, or fill out this brief form.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

All COVID-19 vaccinations at AFM must follow the distribution guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The CDPHE has designed a three-phase distribution approach that is based on federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines ensure equitable and transparent vaccine distribution without discrimination based on race, color, gender, or ability to pay.

PhasesEligibility
Phase 1A – WinterHighest-risk health care workers and individuals:

  • People who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. 
  • Long-term care facility staff and residents.
Phase 1B – WinterColoradans age 70+, moderate-risk health care workers, first responders, frontline essential workers, and continuity of state government:

  • Health care workers with less direct contact with COVID-19 patients (e.g. home health, hospice, pharmacy, dental, etc.) and EMS.
  • Firefighters, police, COVID-19 response personnel, correctional workers, and funeral services.
  • People age 70 and older. 
  •                                                             
  • Frontline essential workers in education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, U.S. postal service, public transit and specialized transportation staff, grocery, public health, frontline essential human service workers, and direct care providers for Coloradans experiencing homelessness.
  • Essential officials from executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government.
  • Essential frontline journalists.
Phase 2 – SpringHigher-risk individuals:

  • People age 60 to 69.
  • People age 16 to 59 with obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, significant heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer, or who are immunocompromised.
  • Other essential workers and continuity of local government.
Phase 3 – SummerGeneral public:

  • Anyone age 16-59 without high risk conditions.

*Timeline subject to change based on supply chain. Prioritization subject to change based on data, science, availability. See more information here.

Comparing the different COVID-19 vaccine options

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines: the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. See how the two vaccines compare to one another below, and stay up-to-date on other vaccine clinical trials and options.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 VaccineModerna COVID-19 Vaccine
Type of VaccinemRNAmRNA
Administration2 doses, 21 days apart2 doses, 28 days apart
Efficacy52% effective after the first doseunknown efficacy after the first dose
95% effective after both doses94.5% effective after both doses
Side Effects
  • Pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site
  • Chills, tiredness, headache
  • Pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site
  • Chills, tiredness, headache
Approved For Ages16 years +18 years old +

Watch our Q&A video with AFM Clinical Pharmacist Taylor Sandvick about the COVID-19 vaccine >>

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

When can I get the vaccine?

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has developed a phased COVID-19 vaccination plan to prioritize those that need it most. Colorado is currently vaccinating individuals in Phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccination plan. After all of Phase 1 is complete, Phase 2 and then Phase 3 can commence. AFM is following state guidelines to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The CDPHE expects that it will take several months before everyone who wants a vaccine can get one because of limited availability. Sign up here for notifications from Larimer County Public Health on how and when you can get a vaccine.

Updated: January 14, 2021

Where will I get my vaccine from?

Several community stakeholders, including AFM, UCHealth, and our local public health agencies, are vaccinating the Northern Colorado population. AFM is working with local public health agencies and the state to distribute COVID-19 vaccines according to CDPHE guidelines. If/when this happens, AFM will be subject to all of the state’s phased prioritization guidelines.

The majority of early Phase 1 recipients receive a vaccine through their employer, local public health agency, or through the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program.

If you receive an invitation for vaccination from other community partners, like UCHealth or your local public health agency, before you receive an invitation from AFM, we recommend you make the appointment. See information on UCHealth’s efforts to vaccinate our community.

For additional questions about where you can receive the vaccine or who to contact in your community, call COHELP (1-877-462-2911).

Is there a priority list?

To protect privacy and be able to scale the distribution process, the state does not have a priority list that people can get on. To sign up for vaccine notifications from Larimer County Public Health, please click here. As AFM receives vaccines, we follow all of the state’s phased prioritization guidelines. The state is currently vaccinating individuals in Phase 1. Learn about who is in Phase 1 here.

How will I be notified when I am able to receive the vaccine?

Sign up here for notifications from Larimer County Public Health on how and when you can get a vaccine. AFM will reach out to patients via phone, email, or My Health Connection as vaccine supplies become available and patients are able to receive a vaccine according to the CDPHE’s phased distribution plan.

What is the cost of the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is being provided to the public at no cost. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances are required to cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Based on current knowledge, experts believe that mRNA vaccines (like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) are unlikely to pose a risk for pregnant or breastfeeding people or their babies. However, pregnant and breastfeeding people were not included in any of the clinical trials for currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines, therefore, no data is currently available on the safety of the vaccines in pregnant or breastfeeding people.

The COVID-19 vaccine should not be given simultaneously with any other vaccines during pregnancy. Wait a minimum of 14 days before and after the administration of other vaccines before getting the first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, see CDPHE’s Pregnancy and breastfeeding FAQ.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

A COVID-19 vaccine will give you protection against the disease without having to get sick with the actual virus. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from a vaccine, but it is possible to get symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19. The vaccine candidates use inactivated virus, parts of the virus (e.g., the spike protein), or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause COVID-19. The goal of the vaccine is to provide your body with the tools it needs to fight the COVID-19 virus if you were to get infected. 

Can I still get the vaccine if I have a weakened immune system (due to illness or medication) or an autoimmune condition?

Yes, you are at higher risk of severe COVID-19. Information about safety in this specific group is not yet available, so please be aware of potential for reduced immune response to the vaccine.

Can I get the vaccine if I have a history of allergic reactions?

Yes. If you have a history of allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications (such as foods, pets, bee stings, environmental, latex, etc.) you should get vaccinated. If you have a history of allergic reactions to any ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccines or a history of severe allergic reactions to other vaccines, you should talk with your provider prior to getting vaccinated.

Should I get the vaccine if I have had COVID-19 and recovered?

Yes. Re-infection with COVID-19 is possible and has been seen. However, current evidence suggests reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection and thus people with documented acute infection in the preceding 90 days may defer vaccination until the end of this period, if desired. 

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Most people who received the vaccines in clinical trials experienced mild to moderate side effects that typically went away on their own after a few days. The most commonly reported side effects for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site; pain, tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection; and fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, nausea/vomiting, and fever for a few days after receiving the vaccine, with more pronounced discomfort after the second dose. The frequency and severity of side effects may vary between the two vaccines. Different people may experience different side effects, even if they receive the same vaccine. 

The process of building immunity can cause symptoms. These symptoms are normal and show that your body’s immune system is responding to a vaccine. Other routine vaccines, like the flu vaccine, have similar side effects.

If you experience discomfort after the first dose of the vaccine, it is very important that you still receive the second dose a few weeks later for full protection.

For in-depth information about the side effects of the vaccines, see the CDC’s report on the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine.

When will I be protected after getting the vaccine?

You will not be immediately protected from COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. Studies show that it takes about one to two weeks after your last dose for your body to be able to protect itself against illness.

Current information suggests it is possible that someone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 may still have a mild or asymptomatic infection or spread the virus to others. So it is important to continue taking precautions. Continue wearing masks and practicing physical distancing until it is clear that it is safe to stop.

While no vaccine is 100% effective, Pfizer and Moderna have reported that their vaccines are about 95% effective.

Do I still have to wear a mask and social distance after receiving the vaccine?

It will take time after the vaccination for your body to respond and make enough antibodies to protect you. This could take up to one to two weeks after your last dose. 

Current research suggests that it is possible that someone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 may still have a mild or asymptomatic infection or spread the virus to others. So it is important to continue taking precautions. Continue wearing masks and practicing physical distancing until it is clear that it is safe to stop.

Colorado has not announced an end date for the statewide mask mandate, so masks must still be worn in public enclosed places.

How do mRNA vaccines work?

mRNA vaccines help our bodies build an immune response to the COVID-19 virus. The mRNA vaccine teaches our cells how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. After our cells make copies of the protein, our immune system recognizes that the protein should not be in our body and builds antibodies to remember how to fight the virus if we are infected in the future.  

An antibody is a protein produced by your immune system that can recognize a specific type of virus in your body. When you get infected, your body’s antibodies are able to recognize proteins on the surface of the COVID-19 virus to attack and stop it from replicating in your body. 

For a visual explanation of how mRNA vaccines work, watch Stat’s video “What are mRNA vaccines?” 

To learn more, visit the CDC’s Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work.

Will an mRNA vaccine alter my DNA?

No. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is that those vaccinated gain this protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19. 

To learn more, visit the CDC’s Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work.

Have more questions?

Visit covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine-faq for more information from the CDPHE.