Safe and highly effective COVID-19 protection is available, so get boosted – AZ Dept. of Health Services Director’s Blog

Safe and highly effective COVID-19 protection is available, so get boosted

November COVID-19 outcomes by vaccination statusDuring November, Arizonans who had received the updated Omicron booster were 14 times less likely than unvaccinated individuals to be hospitalized from COVID-19 and 49 times less likely to die from COVID-19. That’s according to our latest monthly look at COVID-19 outcomes by vaccination status.

Those who were vaccinated, but hadn’t gotten the updated booster were 7.1 times less likely to be hospitalized and 9.7 times less likely to die than unvaccinated individuals. 

This is all the more reason for everyone 6 months and older to get the new Omicron booster at least two months after your last COVID-19 vaccine dose or three months after having COVID-19. You’ll find providers at vaccines.gov.

Being up to date on COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for older individuals whose immune systems tend to have weakened with age. More than 80% of COVID-19 deaths during the past six months have been among those 65 and older, while more than 90% of COVID-19 deaths during that time have been among those 55 and older. 

But every age range has seen deaths, and everyone remains vulnerable to long COVID.

You might have seen news reports recently about a new and potentially more transmissible COVID-19 Omicron subvariant called XBB.1.5. This is a reminder that COVID-19 remains with us and continues doing what viruses do to survive: change and adapt so they can continue spreading.

The more important news is that public health recommendations remain the same:

  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines — and further protect yourself by getting your seasonal influenza vaccine at the same time. 
  • Pay attention to CDC COVID-19 Community Levels in your county and follow recommendations based on your area’s level and your assessment of your own risk.
  • Take simple steps proven to reduce the spread of all respiratory viruses, such as keeping your hands washed, covering coughs and sneezes, and, most importantly, staying home if you are sick.

Dr. Eugene Livar is the Assistant Director for Public Health Preparedness at the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Eugene has been part of the ADHS team since 2012. He began his public health work at ADHS as an epidemiologist assisting with state efforts covering border health and unexplained deaths. Since then, he has held roles as Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) program manager, Office Chief of Disease Integration and Services, and Bureau Chief of Epidemiology and Disease Control. Eugene has assisted with multiple Health Emergency Operations Center responses during his time at ADHS. In his current role, he leads the division of Public Health Preparedness that encompasses the Bureaus of Epidemiology & Disease Control, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Medical Services & Trauma Systems, and State Laboratory Services.



AZ Dept. of Health Services

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