By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – Travelers and employees at Denver International Airport now have a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot just steps away from the security lines. On Monday, the airport and Safeway held the first of six booster clinics scheduled throughout December.

The clinics are open to everyone, including employees and passengers. Appointments must be booked online, organizers said. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being offered. 

(credit: CBS)

“It’s a great opportunity for those individuals, especially going into the holidays,” said Nikki Price, director of pharmacy operations for Albertsons Safeway Pharmacies. 

Kris Pacheco, who said he’s worked at the airport for more than 10 years, was among the first to stop by the clinic for his booster shot Monday. With some of the busiest days of the year just a week away, the ongoing threat of COVID-19 is at the top of his mind.  

“Because of the amount of people that we come into contact with that are travelling from all over the world and different areas,” Pacheco said.  

For that reason, Pacheco was one of more than 12,000 employees to get his first two shots earlier this year at a similar clinic at the airport. It’s also why he returned for his booster shot once they were offered steps away from work again.  

“Hopefully, it will keep me safe with all the crazy variants and stuff going on and protect myself, my family, and others around,” he said.  

(credit: CBS)

Monday’s booster clinic comes days after Colorado’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, shared new data on the efficacy of booster shots. In a recent press conference, she said Coloradans who’ve gotten their vaccine booster are about 50 times less likely to be hospitalized than those who are unvaccinated.  

“To get vaccinated, that’s when you really get the best protection,” said Price. “So, whether you are an employee here or whether you are traveling through here, you want to make sure you are protected as you can, so you don’t spread it to loved ones as you’re traveling.” 

Jose Enrique Perez’s family won’t have those concerns anymore. During a five-hour layover Monday, his two children got their booster shots. 

“It was pretty easy,” Perez said.  

The family’s final destination is home in Mexico, where opportunities like this aren’t as easy to find.  

“My country it’s very difficult to get the vaccine,” he said. “Here it’s very easy.”  

Organizers say they can handle just about whatever demand comes their way, but employees and travelers must sign up for an appointment online first. 

Below are the dates and times for the remaining clinics: 

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2-8 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 27, 2-8 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 29, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Conor McCue