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Christ: Prevent uptick in COVID-19 cases with vaccinations

Dr. Cara Christ is the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Real-world data continues to show the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines – and the consequences of not getting the shot.

The facts are clear and compelling:

  • In May, 95.4% of the 16,910 reported COVID-19 cases were among those who weren't fully vaccinated.
  • In June, 92.4% of the 12,911 reported COVID-19 cases were among those who weren't vaccinated or weren't fully vaccinated.
  • And since the beginning of the year approximately 99% of COVID-19 deaths in Arizona were individuals who were not fully vaccinated.

All this points to a fundamental truth: Vaccines are demonstrating their effectiveness at preventing serious cases and deaths from COVID-19 and providing the strongest possible argument for the benefits of vaccination.

Areas with lower rates of vaccination are most susceptible to the spread of COVID-19, which is an increasing concern with the more-contagious Delta variant becoming more common around Arizona. As you can see on the dashboard's daily curve, there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases lately.

Vaccines are safe, free, and highly effective against major strains including the Delta variant. They also are widely available around Arizona to those 12 and older.

No vaccine is 100% effective, though COVID-19 vaccines come closer than many others. These vaccines are the surest protection against a predictably unpredictable virus. Having more people vaccinated reduces the chance of breakthrough COVID-19 cases involving those who are fully vaccinated, though vaccinated individuals tend to have far less severe outcomes.

With at least 50% of all Arizonans having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, there's less chance for a major surge in cases or significant strain on the healthcare system and intensive care units. But we've reached the point where severe cases and deaths from COVID-19 are almost entirely preventable.

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If you aren't already vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to visit azdhs.gov/FindVaccine to locate a convenient provider and Roll Up Your Sleeve today. It protects you, your loved ones, and your community.

Dr. Cara Christ is the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Fred Boice receives a COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 15 at the Tucson Medical Center's Marshall building.