Vaccine laws and regulations

Last updated September 17, 2021.

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COVID-19 vaccine vials

 

Your job, employer, or college/university may require you to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to go to work or school.

Find out where you can get vaccinated

The information provided on this webpage does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this page are for general informational purposes only.

Vaccine requirements for: 

State employees

Beginning September 20, all state employees must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in twice-weekly testing. State agencies will reach out with information on how unvaccinated or not-fully-vaccinated employees can get tested free of charge. Employees will be allowed work time to get tested and administrative or Public Health Emergency Leave to get vaccinated. Not-fully-vaccinated or unvaccinated employees must wear masks inside state facilities when they are around others. For more information about this policy, visit the Division of Human Resources' page on vaccination reporting.

Federal employees

President Biden has signed an Executive Order requiring all federal executive branch employees to be vaccinated, and another Executive Order that will require federal contractors to do the same.

Staff at health care facilities and hospitals

On August 30, the State Board of Health approved a vaccine requirement for staff in health care settings with high-risk patients. The emergency rule applies to CDPHE-licensed health care facilities. These facilities can require personnel who interact with people seeking medical care to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. “Personnel” includes employees, direct contractors, and support staff, defined as an individual who has the potential for exposure to clients of the facility or agency and/or to infectious materials, including bodily substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, contaminated environmental surfaces, or contaminated air. These individuals may include, but are not limited to: licensed independent practitioners; students and trainees; individuals who directly contract with the facility or agency to provide services, whether on a permanent or temporary basis; visiting nursing staff; individuals who are affiliated with the facility or agency, but do not receive wages or other remuneration from the facility or agency; and persons not directly involved in client care but are potentially exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from the individual providing services and clients of the facility or agency.  Personnel affected by this rule will need to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine no later than September 30, 2021, and will need to be fully vaccinated no later than October 31, 2021. The State Board of Health will convene again in October to consider the rule in a regular session.

The Board’s ability to mandate vaccines is limited to only those health care facilities that are listed in Colorado Revised Statute 25-1.5-103(1)(a)(I). These include:

  • Acute treatment units. 
  • Ambulatory surgical centers. 
  • Assisted living residences. 
  • Behavioral health entities. 
  • Birth centers. 
  • Community mental health centers. 
  • Community clinics. 
  • Community integrated health care services agencies. 
  • Dialysis treatment clinics. 
  • Home care agencies. 
  • Home care placement agencies. 
  • Hospices. 
  • Hospitals. 
  • Facilities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
  • Nursing homes.

In addition, the federal government is working on rules expected to be released in October 2021 that will require vaccinations for all workers at most health care settings – hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies – that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This will cover 17 million health care workers.

Colleges and universities

Some colleges and universities have instituted COVID-19 vaccine requirements for students, faculty, and staff. Contact your school for more information about whether COVID-19 vaccination is required. 

The official Colorado Certificate of Medical Exemption or Colorado Certificate of Nonmedical Exemption does not include COVID-19 vaccines. These official certificates of exemption are meant to capture information about vaccines required by the Colorado Board of Health for school entry. Individuals with questions about allowable vaccine exemptions should contact their college/university directly for additional guidance.  

Employers with 100 or more employees

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be requiring that businesses with 100 or more employees ensure every worker is fully vaccinated or face weekly testing -– and provide employees paid time off to get vaccinated. More than 80 million private sector workers will be covered by this standard.

 

Frequently asked questions

You may be required as a condition of employment for some employers. But generally, employment aside, no, you aren’t required to get vaccinated at this time.

Yes. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not apply to businesses like retail stores and restaurants because these businesses do not engage in any form of health care activity. It is not a violation of any federal or state law for a business to ask customers about their vaccination status. Customers may voluntarily share this information with a business if they choose to do so. A business may require public health measures (e.g. mask-wearing) if a customer chooses not to share their vaccination status.  

The state public health department, which maintains the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS), does not share a person’s protected health information, such as their COVID-19 vaccination status, with any business. Individuals may choose whether to share their vaccination status with others.

Every Coloradan’s immunization records are confidential, personal medical information that will never be shared publicly. The state will report information on the total number of residents who have been vaccinated in Colorado, but this data will not be attached to any individual’s personally identifying information.

The state health department maintains the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS), a confidential, population-based, secure computerized system that collects and consolidates individual-level vaccine and exemption data for Coloradans of all ages from a variety of sources.

Under Colorado law, you can choose to remove your immunization information from CIIS at any time. This is called an opt-out.

Employees who work for employers requiring COVID-19 vaccination and who wish to exercise an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine should talk to their human resources office about acceptable exemption forms. The state’s standard certificates of medical and nonmedical exemption only address vaccines required by state Board of Health rules for school entry

Employees may be entitled to an exemption through the ADA and Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission has more information on this on their website.

Yes, they can. Questions regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements for students, faculty and/or staff should be directed to the specific college or university.

If you got the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, you can get your immunization record through the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal. If you have difficulty finding your record, please review this guidance document.  

Alternatively, if you got the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, you can find a digital version of your COVID-19 immunization card through myVaccine Record on the myColorado mobile app.  

If you got your COVID-19 vaccination(s) outside of Colorado, please contact your vaccination provider or the immunization information system of the state in which you received your COVID-19 to request a copy of your records.

Have other questions about COVID-19 vaccines? Visit our vaccine FAQ.