Vaccine is ‘safest’ way to prevent spread of holiday COVID-19 bump, health expert says

Nov 19, 2021, 6:30 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2021, 9:27 am
A health worker is inoculated with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the National Kidney and Transplant ...

A health worker is inoculated with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, Philippines, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. The government has started inoculating booster shots to fully vaccinated frontline workers as it eases health restrictions while active COVID-19 cases continue to decline in the country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

PHOENIX — As COVID-19 cases in Arizona continue to trend upward, a local health expert said Friday the safest way to prevent the disease is to get vaccinated.

“It’s the holidays so people are starting to come inside, be close together and so on, so we expect there’s going to be a bump,” Dr. Richard Carmona, senior advisor to Ducey on public health emergency and former Surgeon General of the United States, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad.

He added the surge would “take us out probably into the spring time, so the best thing we can do is practice those mitigation strategies as much as possible, and most importantly, get vaccinated.”

On Friday, COVID-19 booster shots were opened by the U.S. to anyone 18 or older with the option to choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot six months after their last dose.

“Undoubtedly, I would suggest that everybody who is eligible get the booster if you’re six months or so out from your original vaccination,” Carmona said.

He also said some people may be afraid to receive the vaccine due to language and cultural barriers.

“Our teams are working to educate those people that it is safe, it’s efficacious, and they should consider getting vaccinated, recognizing that we’re never going to capture everybody but as we get closer to herd immunity the safer our community will be and the safer our nation will be,” Carmona said.

“Still, the safest way to prevent the disease and prevent the acceleration to something worse is to get vaccinated.”

The minimum age to receive the Pfizer shot is 5, and it’s 18 for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer version has full Food and Drug Administration approval, while the other two were granted emergency use authorization.

For details about statewide vaccine availability, the ADHS website has a vaccine-finder page with locations and other information.

For information about metro Phoenix vaccine availability, Maricopa County Public Health has a locator page that lists pharmacies, government-run sites, health clinics and pop-up distribution events. Appointments may be required depending on the provider.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, has no impact on some people and is seriously debilitating or fatal for others. Infected people without symptoms — which include but are not limited to cough, fever and difficulty breathing — are capable of spreading the virus.

Information about where to get tested for COVID-19 can be found on the ADHS website.

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Vaccine is ‘safest’ way to prevent spread of holiday COVID-19 bump, health expert says