Like many of you, I’m looking with concern at daily updates to the ADHS COVID-19 data dashboard. Cases are rising, though with 3.4 million people in Arizona fully vaccinated, including a large share of older Arizonans more prone to severe outcomes, we haven’t seen the same levels of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths as during the winter surge. 

Still, the numbers we’re adding to our dashboard, stoked by the very contagious Delta variant, represent a preventable tragedy. Nearly all cases — 89% in July — and virtually all hospitalizations and deaths are occurring among adults who, for various reasons, haven’t been fully vaccinated — or vaccinated at all, in most cases.

Breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated people will occur because no vaccine is 100% effective, but in those cases vaccination greatly reduces the chances of severe illness and death. 

At ADHS, we strive every day to help Arizonans take steps that improve their health and wellness as well as the health and wellness of those around them. We have worked nonstop to make safe, free and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines as widely available and easily accessible as possible. If you want to protect yourself, your family, and your community against COVID-19 you can get vaccinated today at hundreds of providers around the state

If you have children younger than 12 who can’t yet be vaccinated, you can help protect them by making sure every eligible person in your household is fully vaccinated. 

If you aren’t fully vaccinated, you should be wearing a mask around anyone who doesn’t live with you. That said, the surest protection is getting vaccinated. I’ve been glad to see the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered rise in recent weeks, but we have a long way to go as we build community protection. 

COVID-19 is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated. If you are basing your decision to not be vaccinated on social media claims, I urge you to seek your doctor’s advice. I don’t want to see more people get seriously ill, go into the hospital or die from COVID-19. In almost every case today, it is preventable with vaccination.