PHOENIX — A committee comprised of local, state and tribal officials announced Monday that Arizona residents 75 or older are next in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Arizona Vaccine and Antiviral Prioritization Advisory Committee made the recommendation as they consider older residents to be more likely to experience severe COVID-19 complications and be hospitalized compared to younger people.
“One of Arizona’s top priorities since the start of the pandemic has been to protect our most vulnerable,” said Governor Doug Ducey. "This updated prioritization will get older Arizonans vaccinated sooner, further protecting those most at-risk and relieving the strain on our hardworking health care professionals. My thanks to the trained vaccinators across the state working to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect Arizonans.”
The committee's decision followed the updated recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Immunizations Practices Committee.
According to data provided by the CDC, residents of ages 75 or older are eight times more likely to be hospitalized and 220 times more likely to die compared to younger adults. For individuals 85 and older, these risks increase significantly.
“We have seen the devastating effects COVID-19 has had on our communities,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ. “Prioritizing those 75 and older in the next phase of vaccinations will protect those at even greater risk while helping preserve hospital capacity.”
Vaccinations began across the state for frontline healthcare workers, emergency medical services workers, and residents and staff at long-term care facilities.
Along with those 75 or older residents, education, childcare workers, and members of protective services occupations will also eligible to be vaccinated in the next phase.
State officials say this group, referred to as prioritized phase 1B, could likely start receiving their vaccines by mid-to-late January throughout the state.