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COVID-19 Vaccines: What Arizona Seniors Need to Know | Generations Home Care
A vial of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Currently there are multiple Covid-19 vaccines hitting the market and several ways to obtain them. It’s an exciting time for seniors ready to finally get vaccinated, but it can be pretty confusing, too. Many factors determine who is eligible for the vaccine, what type of vaccine you’ll get, and what guidelines to follow after getting your shot. 

Here’s a breakdown of Arizona’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. Including, who can get it and when, what types of vaccines are available, and what to do once you’re fully vaccinated. 

What COVID-19 Vaccines are Currently Available?

At the moment, the CDC lists three separate COVID-19 vaccines as “authorized and recommended.” The first vaccine on the market was the Pfizer vaccine, approved by emergency use authorization on December 11, 2020. The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots set 21 days apart. In clinical trial, this vaccine proved to be 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections across all age groups. 

The Moderna vaccine, approved shortly after Pfizer, is quite similar. It also requires two shots, given 28 days apart rather than 21, and its effectiveness comes in at 94.1%. However, some studies suggest the Moderna vaccine might be slightly less effective for people 65 and older. 

The most recent addition to the CDC’s authorized vaccinations is the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine. Though the convenience of only receiving a single shot is undoubtedly appealing, it does come with a drawback. The CDC found that the J&J vaccine may be less effective at preventing COVID-19 than its counterparts, with approximately a 66% efficacy rate in clinical trials. However, the J&J vaccine had a high success rate at preventing serious illness. During trails, the J&J shot was 100% effective at preventing COVID-related  hospitalizations or deaths. Recently, a small number of J&J recipients have developed rare blood clots. In response, the CDC ordered a temporary pause in vaccine distribution to investigate. However, experts expect the J&J shot will be available again soon. 

Potential Side-Effects and Allergic Reactions

Side effects are similar across all three vaccines and are generally mild. You should expect some pain in your arm after the shot, as well as some redness and swelling. You might also feel achy, tired, feverish, and nauseous for a brief amount of time. If you’re getting a two-shot vaccine, the side effects tend to be worse after the second shot. 

If you have concerns about which vaccine would be best for you or are concerned about the possibility of an allergic reaction, talk to your doctor about your options. An allergic reaction is improbable if you are not allergic to an ingredient of the COVID-19 vaccine or didn’t have a reaction to the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Arizona COVID-19 Eligibility 

Currently, Arizona is following a phase-by-phase approach for COVID-19 vaccinations. Each county defines their vaccination phases based on age group and vulnerability. So, the best place to start is by finding your county’s current phase. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has an interactive map that can help you determine your local phase. It will also show which age groups are currently eligible for vaccination. Phase 1 prioritizes seniors 65 and older and essential workers, including healthcare, education, and protective services. In March, Arizona aimed to vaccinate everyone ages 55 and up. In April, the goal is to vaccinate people 45 and up. Frontline workers will also be given priority in the coming months. This includes people working in food and agriculture, grocery stores, the post office, manufacturing, transit, government, or funeral homes. 

If you have questions about vaccine registration or need to find an appointment, you can get more information on the ADHS website or by calling 1-844-542-8201.

CDC Recommendations for Vaccinated People

The CDC considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second shot of their Pfizer/Moderna vaccine or the first shot of their J&J vaccine. As vaccines continue to roll out, the CDC has released a set of interim guidelines for vaccinated people, updated and expanded based on how the community spread of COVID-19 responds. In the meantime, the CDC states that vaccinated people can safely do several activities. If you haven’t received a vaccination, you should continue practicing mask-wearing and social distancing

Fully Vaccinated People Can:

  • Spend time with other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks or social distancing. 
  • Spend time with unvaccinated people from a single household at low risk for COVID-19 without masks or social distancing. 
  • Avoid quarantining or testing if exposed to a person with COVID-19, if asymptomatic. 

This opens a world of possibilities for vaccinated seniors. Perhaps most exciting of all is the chance to safely spend time with beloved family members without masks or social distancing.

Continued Precautions for Vaccinated People:

Of course, while much of the population still waits for a vaccine, it’s important to stay diligent. Here are the continued precautions the CDC recommends vaccinated people take: 

  • Continue wearing masks and socially distancing in public settings. 
  • Restrict gatherings to smaller sizes.
  • In a get-together with multiple households, continue to wear masks and physically distance.
  • When visiting unvaccinated people at risk for COVID-19 or people who are living with someone at risk for COVID-19, practice masking and social distancing.
  • Get tested if you start exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. 

As frustrating as it might be to continue to wear masks and remain six feet away from unvaccinated friends from other households, these guidelines will continue to keep us safe. As friends, family members, and caregivers, we look forward to standing firm in the coming months in the fight against COVID-19.

About Generations Home Care

Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.

Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.

Our Specialty Services Include:

  • Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
  • Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
  • Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
  • Veteran’s connection to care program.
  • Live-in services and couples care.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.


About the author - Josh Friesen

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