State health officials urge Arizonans to take COVID booster, flu shot before holidays
PHOENIX — With flu season in full swing and an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases last month, Arizona health officials are encouraging people to take precautions ahead of the holidays.
Getting an Omicron COVID-19 booster or flu shot sooner rather than later can allow individuals to build antibody defense — which takes at least two weeks — and be protected in time for holiday activities like family gatherings or trips, the Arizona Department of Health Services said in a press release.
With lower respiratory virus levels in 2020 and 2021 than normal while COVID-19 limited activity, the seasonal illnesses are bouncing back, ADHS said.
Planning your holiday to-do list?
— AZ Dept of Health (@AZDHS) December 3, 2022
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention estimates there have been nearly nine million cases of influenza in the United States this season so far and recommends anyone older than six months get a shot.
ADHS said the state saw three times more reported influenza cases last week than the five-year average for the same week.
Meanwhile, eight Arizona counties — Pima, Apache, Cochise, Gila, Greenlee, La Paz, Navajo and Yuma — have high COVID-19 community levels, which conveys the virus’ impact based on cases and hospitalizations. ADHS recommends wearing masks for public indoor settings in these counties.
Maricopa County has a medium community level.
Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s and bowl games bring people together, so the department recommends vaccinations, washing hands with soap and water often, avoiding touching one’s face with unwashed hands, covering coughs or sneezes and staying home if feeling sick.
People can find providers online.