There’s no better time to update your protection against COVID-19 and influenza – AZ Dept. of Health Services Director’s Blog

Ready for the Holidays?As you’re preparing for the holidays, now is a great time to add COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations to your to-do list. 

It takes at least two weeks to build antibody protection after vaccination. Getting your Omicron COVID-19 booster and flu shot now — and you can get both in one visit — means your immune protection can be up to date before families and friends gather for Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, bowl games, cookie exchanges, and more. 

There’s simply no better time to find a provider at vaccines.gov and make sure you have the best possible protection against severe cases of COVID-19 and influenza. 

Meanwhile, updated COVID-19 Community Levels from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are high in the counties of Pima, Apache, Greenlee, Gila, Navajo, and Santa Cruz. That means masks are recommended in public indoor spaces. 

All other counties, including Maricopa County, have medium community levels. For these counties, the CDC recommends talking to your health care provider if you are immunocompromised or at high risk of getting very sick to weigh whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions. 

Whatever the community level is in your area, we recommend assessing your risk and the risk of those around you when deciding on masks and other steps that reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. You’ll find more information on masks and mask use at azhealth.gov/Masks

At a time when respiratory viruses are active in Arizona and across the nation, it’s also important to take simple steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV):

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, and immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick in your home. 
  • Stay at home if you are sick.

The good news is that safe and highly effective vaccines are available for COVID-19 and influenza. The COVID-19 bivalent booster targets the most common Omicron subvariants currently circulating and is recommended for everyone ages 5 and older at least two months after their last COVID-19 vaccination. The flu shot offers the best possible protection against this predictably unpredictable illness. 

AZ Dept. of Health Services

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