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Updated COVID-19 vaccines are on the way following CDC endorsement

Arizona pharmacies and doctors offices could start providing updated COVID-19 vaccines within a few days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday recommended the shots for almost all Americans

The updated shots from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech target the recent omicron variant of COVID-19. The shots will be available for those 6 months and older.

Dr. Kirin Raman, division medical director of the division of public health preparedness with the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KJZZ News it benefits everyone to avoid the disease through vaccination.

“I would say get your shot. I think it’s going to be the best way to protect yourself and your family and your loved ones from serious illness and hospitalization and even death," Raman said. 

Raman said COVID-19 poses the biggest threat to older adults and those with underlying health conditions, but the CDC's recommendation is broader than that for a reason.

“In those populations that think ‘I’m pretty healthy, I don’t really need it,’ just remember that long COVID is here, and it is something that plenty of people who never had any health problems before are suffering with,” Raman said. 

Weekly COVID-19 hospital admissions in Arizona are still at one of the lowest points since the pandemic began. But hospital admissions have been trending upward for the past seven weeks. Raman said she expects cases will continue to rise heading into fall and winter.

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.