It’s important for everyone to be up to date on COVID-19 vaccination. But all evidence points to an even greater need for older Arizonans to get the lifesaving protection offered by the current bivalent booster, which targets Omicron. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, highly effective, widely available, and free.
That’s one reason why we’ve launched a website, azhealth.gov/BoostersForSeniors, to make it as easy as possible for Arizona’s seniors and people with loved ones in this age group to get the information they need and to connect with vaccine providers. This includes people needing boosters brought to them, such as those in long-term care facilities, and people who need assistance getting to a vaccination provider.
The website, developed by the ADHS Office of Health Equity, explains what constitutes being up to date on COVID-19 vaccination and provides resources specific to a person’s location and living situation.
Only about a third of Arizonans 65 and older have received a bivalent booster dose. Here are just some of the reasons why that’s a continuing concern:
- COVID-19 vaccine protection wanes over time. This makes it especially important for older people, whose immune systems weaken with age, to stay current on vaccination by getting the bivalent booster.
- In Arizona, those 65 and older accounted for 55% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 during the past six months. While COVID-19 deaths are down significantly from previous peaks, 85% COVID-19 deaths during this period have been among those 65 and older.
- In November, Arizonans ages 5 and older who received the new Omicron booster were 14 times less likely to be hospitalized and 49 times less likely to die compared to unvaccinated individuals. Charts by age range show the pronounced benefits of the new Omicron booster for those 65 and older.
- A study recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that among individuals 65 and older a bivalent booster dose provided 73% additional protection against COVID-19 hospitalization compared to vaccination with the previous monovalent vaccine.
For operators of long-term care facilities, patients, and families and friends of patients, azhealth.gov/BoostersForSeniors explains how to arrange free mobile clinics that administer COVID-19 vaccines on site. We are partnering with the long-term care industry to increase the percentage of residents and staff who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination, and our licensing surveyors are now promoting the availability of ADHS mobile clinics when visiting facilities. There is no minimum number of vaccines required to have a mobile clinic.
The website also details resources available to homebound seniors, including the mobile vaccination services available through ADHS.
Our goal at ADHS is health and wellness for all Arizonans. The new website at azhealth.gov/BoostersForSeniors is one way we continue working to protect our most vulnerable from COVID-19.