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Arizona vaccine rates for COVID-19, flu lag as holidays approach

Thanksgiving gatherings and travel are just weeks away, and respiratory-illness season is ramping up.

But is anybody getting vaccinated?

The COVID-19 variants now circulating are a far cry from the ones initial vaccines targeted, and their protection has faded over time.

Yet, just 17% of people in the U.S. — and less than 16% of Arizonans — have receive the latest booster.

That’s troubling. Despite the popular idea that youth is protection against the coronavirus, COVID can send seemingly healthy children to the hospital, for reasons experts don’t fully understand.

And, as always, staying current with vaccines remains vital for older adults and people with underlying health conditions, who are also at higher risk for more serious symptoms.

Flu vaccines among people age 17 and younger resemble last year’s rates — around one-quarter of young people in the U.S and one-fifth in Arizona — even though kids are more susceptible to the flu and more likely to have severe complications from it.

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Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.