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AZ health officials: Unvaccinated more than 31 times likely to die of COVID-19

By: - January 6, 2022 8:53 am

Clinicians care for a COVID-19 patient on Jan. 6, 2021, in Apple Valley, California. Photo by Mario Tama | Getty Images

A new report released by state health officials found that unvaccinated Arizonans are 31 times more likely to die of COVID-19 and nearly five times more likely to test positive for the virus than their vaccinated counterparts. 

“This is a big change from October, when the unvaccinated were 15.2 times more likely to die from COVID-19 and 3.9 times more likely to get the disease,” Arizona Department of Health Services Director Don Harrington said in a blog post about the report. 


This is the second report released by the state health agency with similar findings recently to highlight the effectiveness and importance of the free vaccination program. 

Only about 59% of Arizona’s population has received at least two doses of the vaccine, with the vast majority of those being people between the ages of 20 to 44 and 65 and up, according to ADHS data

“It’s free, safe, widely available, and, as the evidence clearly shows, highly effective,” Harrington said in his blog post about the recently released data. 

As the highly infectious omicron variant causes the state to see the sharpest increase in cases it has seen yet during the pandemic, experts and public health officials such as Harrington are continuing to stress the importance of the vaccine as well as boosters for those who have already been vaccinated. 

Preliminary results in places like the United Kingdom, which has been grappling with the omicron variant, has shown that those who get booster shots have a 70-to-75% protection against symptomatic infection from the omicron variant. 

“There simply is no arguing with the data: COVID-19 vaccines and boosters save lives,” Harrington said. 

Arizona reported 7,749 new cases of COVID-19 and 61 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total number of people infected since the start of the pandemic to more than 1.4 million and more than 24,500 dead, according to AzDHS data

Anyone seeking a vaccination can find vaccine information online for Maricopa County here and statewide here.


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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.