Denver, CO

Colorado not requiring ID for COVID vaccine

David Heitz

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After two and a half years, I finally received my Colorado state identification today.

I was worried I might not be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine without one. But as it turns out, Colorado does not require an ID for a COVID-19 vaccine. More on that in a minute.

Obtaining the identification has been a nightmare ever since it went missing. It disappeared shortly after I became homeless in November 2018. My Illinois identification disappeared after an encounter at St. Joseph Hospital with Adams County Ambulance Service and Denver Police.

One of the three entities took my ID and never returned it. The hospital insists it wasn’t them. The other two agencies never returned my telephone calls about the missing ID.

Because of COVID-19, I had to put up with extremely long delays in getting an appointment with the DMV to get an ID. Two appointments were canceled by the DMV due to COVID-19.

I was in jail and the state mental hospital for about a year, too, further delaying my efforts to obtain an ID.

Golden DMV said no, but North Glenn said yes

I am grateful to finally have the ID. I had gone to Golden to obtain the ID a few months ago, but they would not accept my documents. The same documents were used and considered acceptable when I voted in the November 2020 election.

I took the exact same documents to a different DMV office, this time in North Glenn, last month. This time the ID arrived in the mail a few weeks later.

You can’t do much of anything when you don’t have an ID. You can’t even get a haircut at some places, especially if you want to use a coupon.

Another thing I was concerned I would not be able to do without an ID is get a COVID vaccination.

As it turns out, Colorado does not require identification for a COVID vaccination.

ID requirement could discourage some from getting vaccination

In a letter to vaccine providers, Scott Bookman of the Colorado Department of Public Health explains the no-ID policy.

“While providers can ask individuals to provide name, date of birth, or address, they should not require that an individual be able to provide a state-issued or other government-issued ID as a condition to receiving the vaccine,” he states. “It is imperative that individuals are not denied access to the vaccine due to their documentation status or inability to get government-issued identification.”

Some may argue this creates a dilemma. Since the vaccine currently is only for those 65 and older, how do you know those lining up to get the vaccine are old enough?

“We understand that while vaccine supply is limited, providers are looking to verify age so that they know they are vaccinating groups within the current prioritization phase(s),” Bookman wrote. “However, requiring proof of ID, especially a government-issued ID, can exacerbate distrust and accessibility inequities for many critical groups.

“This requirement is a barrier for people who are unable to get identification or have trouble accessing services that issue IDs, such as those who are undocumented, experiencing homelessness, have a disability, or others on the margins of society who are unable to get an ID.”

Personal information not shared with law enforcement

Bookman stresses in the letter that providers are to use the honor system when asking vaccination candidates their age. Failure to do could result in them losing their provider status.

The letter stresses that health care providers administering COVID-19 vaccines will never share your personal information with immigration officials or law enforcement.

“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will not count against you in any public charge determinations,” according to the letter. “Like other routine vaccinations, you will need to share some personal information with your vaccine provider when you get a COVID-19 vaccine. This information will only be used for public health purposes.”

The information will remain protected, Bookman said.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

Denver, CO
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