I recently had the privilege of joining an AARP Arizona virtual town hall to discuss COVID-19 vaccines and, more importantly, why seniors should update their protection by following booster recommendations.
Cases and deaths in Arizona have dropped significantly since the January peak, but COVID-19 is still active and infecting people. A large percentage of seniors made the wise decision to protect themselves through COVID-19 vaccination. However, about one out of three people ages 65 and older hasn’t taken the next step of getting boosted when the time arrives.
That’s concerning for two reasons:
- Vaccine protection has been found to wane over time.
- Even if they have been vaccinated, older individuals have weaker immune systems and are more likely to get seriously ill or die from COVID-19.
A booster dose is recommended for everyone 12 and older at least four months after their primary vaccination. For those ages 50 and older, as well as individuals ages 12 and older with weakened immune systems, a second booster dose is recommended at least four months after the first.
I was impressed with the questions that AARP members asked our panel, which included Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th U.S. Surgeon General and special adviser to Governor Doug Ducey on public health preparedness.
Like me, Dr. Carmona is concerned that so many seniors who have been vaccinated still aren’t boosted: “If you haven’t gotten your booster, please get your booster, especially for seniors, because you’re at very high risk at this point with the circulating virus,” he told participants.
COVID-19 boosters are important for everyone. The need is greatest, though, if you are older or have a weakened immune system. I’m twice-boosted myself and happily so.
If you are due for a booster, please get one by finding a convenient location at azhealth.gov/FindVaccine and make sure your protection is up to date.