As we offer our first weekly COVID-19 Data Dashboard update, showing a continuing decline in cases and other metrics, I want to call attention to some critically important information in two reports linked atop the dashboard:
Booster doses dramatically increase protection against COVID-19, including the Omicron variant.
Our twice-monthly report on COVID-19 outcomes by vaccination status, which includes data from January when Omicron was firmly established as the dominant variant, now looks at the impact of booster doses on COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death.
During January, compared to individuals who were fully vaccinated with a booster, unvaccinated people ages 18 and older had:
- 11 times the risk of testing positive for COVID-19;
- 67 times the risk of being being hospitalized from COVID-19; and
- 180 times the risk of dying from COVID-19.
Comparing unvaccinated individuals to those who were fully vaccinated without a booster also demonstrates the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination. During January, the former had:
- 1.3 times the risk of testing positive for COVID-19;
- 4.1 times the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19; and
- 7.2 times the risk of dying from COVID-19.
We’ve also added January data to our twice-monthly COVID-19 variant sequencing report, showing that the Omicron variant started the month with a 96% share and ended with a 98% share.
Vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 outcomes, but these reports make the strongest possible argument for safe, free, and highly effective booster doses. Research shows that COVID-19 vaccine protection wanes over time, especially in people 65 years and older, and that boosters do a great job of increasing your immune response to protect against COVID-19..
Boosters are recommended for everyone ages 12 and older at least five months after your primary vaccination series with Moderna or Pfizer and at least two months after the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen shot. Boosters are especially important for older individuals and others with weakened immune systems, but everyone stands to benefit.
If you aren’t already boosted, please find a convenient provider at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine and update your protection as soon as possible.