Guest column: COVID-19 boosters essential for seniors
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.
Health Equity Administrator
Arizona Department of Health Service