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Pima offers COVID boosters to 16-17-year-old after federal OK; nearly 100 new deaths reported in Az

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Pima offers COVID boosters to 16-17-year-old after federal OK; nearly 100 new deaths reported in Az

358 deaths from virus, 17,000 new reported infections since Monday in Arizona

Booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 are now available at Pima County shot clinics for 16 and 17-year-olds, after federal approval Thursday.

Previously, boosters had only been approved for those 18 and older. Anyone 16 and older is now eligible, if it has been at least six months since their last vaccination shot.

The expansion of vaccine eligibility comes as Arizona state health officials reported nearly 100 more deaths from COVID-19 on Friday.

"The booster doses increase immunity against COVID-19, and we're happy this option is available for 16- and 17-year-olds," said Dr. Theresa Cullen, director of the Pima County Health Department. "This is a good time to get the boosters to protect you and others in advance of the holidays and potentially large gatherings."

Only the Pfizer vaccine is available to those under 18. Those older can choose that shot, or vaccines from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for children as young as 5 years old. All the vaccine types are available at multiple county-supported sites, including:

  • Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.
  • Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. County Club Rd.
  • Theresa Lee Health Center, 1493 W. Commerce Court
  • North Clinic, 3550 N. 1st Ave.
  • East Clinic, 6920 E. Broadway

No appointment is necessary at county vaccine sites, and all shots are free. Check for hours of operation and multiple mobile clinics each week

Federal officials gave the nod to booster shots for older teens on Thursday.

"Boosters are important to help increase people's protection against COVID-19, and as we face the Delta variant and the threat of other variants including Omicron, we are taking urgent action to ensure Americans can stay safe," said Secretary Xavier Becerra, head of the Department of Health & Human Services. "Everyone eligible should get their booster six months after their second dose."

"We are following the science, and I am grateful to the FDA and CDC for their swift work to act," Becerra said.

358 deaths, 17k new cases in Arizona this week

There were 93 additional deaths from COVID-19 reported in Arizona on Friday, with 3,924 new confirmed infections, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

11 of those deaths, and 503 new cases, were in Pima County.

75 deaths and 3,663 new cases Thursday, 18 deaths and 3,503 new infections on Wednesday. On Tuesday, there were 172 new reported deaths and 3,015 new cases, with 3,022 new cases on Monday.

Nearly 3,000 Pima County residents have died from the disease, with nearly 23,000 Arizonans dead from COVID since the beginning of the pandemic.

Unvaccinated people in Arizona have been more than 15 times more likely to die than fully vaccinated people who got COVID-19, ADHS officials said, based on data from October.

Arizona hospitals continue to be overwhelmed, in large part because of patients with COVID-19 who are not vaccinated. In Pima County this week, there were only six intensive care beds available for new patients in all area hospitals.

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