Vaccine best safety measure against COVID-19 hospitalization

As new data shows Arizona has nearly 30,000 breakthrough cases of COVID-19, the Department of Health says the vaccine is still the best safety measure to avoid ending up in a hospital bed.

A “breakthrough infection” is defined as a positive COVID-19 test more than 14 days after a person’s second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Arizona has recorded 27,707 confirmed infections to date. Of these cases, 154 patients died, a total of half a percent of all cases.

According to a study in 13 states including Arizona, unvaccinated people were 10.4 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and 11.3 times more likely to die from the virus.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services regarding people who experienced breakthrough cases, “of those reached for follow-up, 93% (9,018 of 9,730) were symptomatic and 10% (1,371 of 13,405) were hospitalized (although it is not known if this was the case related to COVID-19 or the patients were tested routinely and COVID-19 was found by chance). Pfizer: 16,814 (61%) Moderna 7,664 (28%) Johnson & Johnson 3,229 (11%).

This week, the CDC fully approved the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster vaccine for the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and certain essential employees such as teachers and healthcare workers.

“There are pockets of the population where the original vaccine was not as potent or is not keeping up at a high level,” said Dr David Engelthaler of TGEN, a genetic research center in Flagstaff. “The reason is that not everyone needs a booster. We still need these vaccines to immunize people who did not receive their original vaccine.”

The One Valley family has already received its recall.

Conor Mills, who has autism and Down syndrome, received the booster in early September with his family because he is immunocompromised. In 2019, Mills was hospitalized with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and had a 50% chance of living.

He survived, but ARDS made him vulnerable to respiratory illnesses.

“Her immune system was basically attacking her own body,” said Maureen Mills, Conor’s mother, who said it was a no-brainer when it came to receiving the Pfizer booster. “Let’s make sure he gets as much protection as possible because there’s no way we want him to relive this, it was horrible.”

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