If the term “emergency use authorization” has kept you from getting vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s time to join millions of Arizonans who protected themselves, their families, and their communities by getting a life-saving jab.
The Food and Drug Administration, in a critical step toward ending the pandemic, today granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in those 16 and older. It will be marketed under the brand name Comirnaty. This vaccine remains available to ages 12 to 15 under an FDA emergency use authorization.
“My sincere hope is that today’s welcome news from the FDA helps remove a barrier for many Arizonans who are hesitant to get the vaccine,” Governor Doug Ducey said. “There’s never been a better reason to join me and the nearly 4 million people in our state who have received these safe, free, and highly effective vaccines.”
During July and the first half of August, better than 86% of COVID-19 cases have occurred among those who aren’t fully vaccinated. In general, fully vaccinated individuals who still contract COVID-19 will have milder and sometimes even no symptoms. Meanwhile, 91% of those hospitalized during July and 86% of those who died from COVID-19 in July weren’t fully vaccinated.
“Over the decades, vaccines have brought to heel polio, smallpox, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, and many other concerning diseases,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). “The approved COVID-19 vaccines, which benefit from 20 years research into coronaviruses, offer the surest protection against a virus that continues hospitalizing and killing those who aren’t vaccinated.”
If you think being a young adult guarantees your safety even if you aren’t vaccinated, think again. Nearly half of all cases are occurring among those ages 20 to 44, the group with the lowest vaccination rates among adults. Nearly one out of three people hospitalized for COVID-19 since June have been ages 20 to 44. That’s 1,583 people from what should be the fittest age group being hospitalized and facing severe illness and even death. Sadly, 12% of COVID-19 deaths – 54 people – reported from June to present have been ages 20 to 44.
The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines are widely available across Arizona at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and other providers. To find a provider, please visit azhealth.gov/findvaccine. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit azhealth.gov/covid19vaccines.