State’s oldest residents elevated on list for first COVID-19 immunizations

Cleveland Clinic photo

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Arizona’s oldest residents are going to be moved up on the list of who gets the first COVID-19 immunizations.

The move by Gov. Doug Ducey and the Department of Health Services comes a week after the an advisory panel of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those 75 and older should be moved into the second tier of those getting the vaccine. That puts them behind only health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

Ducey, in a prepared statement, said the move is justified.

“One of Arizona’s top priorities since the start of the pandemic has been to protect our most vulnerable,” he said.

That assessment is backed by CDC data.

As of Dec. 20, when the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the recommendation, the cumulative COVID-19-associated hospitalization rate was 1,211 for every 100,000 individuals 75 and older. By contrast, the same figure for those age 65 to 74 was just 642.

Put another way, the CDC says individuals 75 and older make up 8% of the population but have 25% of hospitalizations. They also have the highest death rate of any age group.

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