What You Need to Know-Week of February 22nd

The most important weekly updates for you to keep your community healthy




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: Transmission, Hospital Capacity, Vaccine, and MIS-C Information

2. Information You Need: Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Mythbusters

3. Quick Question: What to bring when you get vaccinated? 




1. Urgent Updates: Transmission, Hospital Capacity, Vaccine, and MIS-C Information



Updated as of: 02-22-2021
Current Transmission Status: High

Transmission:

New reported cases per day within Arizona have decreased 54% compared to two weeks ago, but transmission is still very high across the state! Currently, per every 100,000 Arizonans, 10,957 have been infected with the virus. In the past week, there has been an average of 132 COVID-19 deaths per day. For regularly updated case counts and additional COVID-19 information by county, visit the Arizona Department of Health’s data dashboard summary page.

  • Please continue to stay home and take the necessary precautions (e.g., practicing hand hygiene, physical distancing, and wearing cloth face coverings) to prevent COVID-19. 
  • Remember that while interacting with others outdoors does reduce your likelihood of a COVID-19 infection compared to being indoors, it is still necessary to wear a cloth face covering and maintain physical distancing from anyone who is outside of your household.

Current Hospital Capacity: High Concern

Hospital capacity remains a major concern for Arizona. During the past week, there were an average of 2,515 COVID-19 patients in Arizona hospitals. Currently only 13% of ICU beds, 12% of in-patient beds, and 52% of emergency department hospital beds across the state are available for any incoming admissions. Healthcare workers are incredibly overwhelmed and have less time, resources, and staff to devote to usual care including elective medical and surgical procedures. 

  • It is important to note that hospital capacity percentages only account for available beds and do not account for available staff members or resources, which are dwindling. 

However, it is still important to remember that if you or someone else is experiencing a medical emergency, you should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Visit this link and click on “Hospital Bed Usage & Availability” for updated information regarding hospital capacity in Arizona.

Vaccine Information:

Over 1,312,500 total Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered across Arizona! The following counties are currently vaccinating those 65 and older: Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Yuma. Other groups currently eligible for vaccination include healthcare workers, long-term care facilities workers, law enforcement and protective services personnel, and childcare and school staff that have not yet been vaccinated. This includes all individuals working in educational settings including bus drivers, janitorial staff, and administrative staff. Use the resources below for more vaccination information:

Non-residents (e.g., students and other people who reside in Arizona part-time) are eligible to receive the vaccine in Arizona. All Arizona residents can register to be vaccinated in their own county or in Phoenix. 

You may also sign up for an Arizona Vaccine Program secure portal account to schedule your vaccination appointment when it is your time to do so. Use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome as your browser for best usability.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C):
MIS-C is a rare condition that has been linked to COVID-19 in children. Much is still unknown about MIS-C, but it can be life threatening. Since the pandemic began, there have been over 1,600 cases in the U.S. and 26 reported deaths.



2. Information You Need: Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Mythbusters



As vaccine distribution continues across Arizona, so does the spread of misinformation! This article discusses some of the inaccurate information surrounding a COVID-19 vaccine and what you should know instead. 

Inaccurate COVID-19 Vaccine InformationWhat You Should Know

INACCURATE INFO: COVID-19 vaccines will make you infertile.
FACT: The COVID-19 vaccines will not affect fertility. 
This misinformation began with false internet claims stating the spike protein found on the COVID-19 virus was identical to a different spike protein that helps the placenta attach during pregnancy. The inaccurate reports claimed that since the vaccines help create antibodies against the COVID-19 spike protein, they would also prevent pregnancy. 
These claims are scientifically inaccurate because the two spike proteins are in fact very different from one another. The claims would equate to saying that two different sentences are the same because they contain the same word – it is just not true!
In fact, many people who received the actual vaccine in the vaccination clinical trials have gone on to become pregnant!
INACCURATE INFO: The COVID-19 vaccines contain unsafe ingredients like fetal tissue or microchips.FACT: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and contain very few ingredients. 
Fats, salts, and sugar are found within the vaccine to protect the mRNA. No fetal tissue, no microchips, no personal information trackers, and no other unsafe ingredients are found inside the vaccines.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain any animal products.
INACCURATE INFO: Development of the COVID-19 vaccines were rushed and therefore are not safe.FACT: The vaccines have proven to be safe and effective. There are many reasons why these claims of rushing development are false and here are just a few: 
No stages of vaccine development were skipped. Some stages of vaccine testing were scheduled to overlap with one another, only to be more efficient in the data collection process.
The method of using mRNA vaccines was already in development prior to the pandemic.
More resources and funding were made available to companies to allow them to move more quickly through the development process.
INACCURATE INFO: I will not need to take safety precautions after I get a COVID-19 vaccine.FACT: You will need to continue to take safety precautions such as wearing a cloth face covering, practicing regular hand hygiene, and physical distancing, but you will not have to do this forever! Here are some reasons why we still need to maintain these strategies:
First, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine does not mean instant protection from COVID-19. It will take approximately two weeks after receiving the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to reap the full immunity benefits.
The currently available vaccines are very effective, but they are not 100% effective. As effective as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are, 95% is not 100%, so there is still a possibility of contracting COVID-19 even after receiving a vaccine, especially when transmission is still high. 
Vaccines work best when the majority of people receive them. Experts suggest that to achieve herd immunity, 70% of the population will need to receive a vaccine – we still have a ways to go!
Scientists are still working to understand: how long immunity from the vaccines last and whether or not vaccinated individuals can still carry or spread the virus to others. Early evidence suggests immune response is robust and likely durable but additional evidence is being collected to confirm just how long it lasts and how much transmission is reduced.


For more information, visit our previous update.


3. Quick Question: What to bring when you get vaccinated?


To prepare for your vaccination appointment, you should bring:

  • A photo ID – preferably one with your birthdate on it or a work ID 
  • Proof of your vaccination appointment (if you have it)
  • Your cloth face covering (which should be worn at all times while you are around others)
  • A pen (to complete necessary paperwork)
  • Vaccination card (if you have already received your first dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine)
  • Something to read or otherwise occupy your time during the 15 – 30 minute post-vaccination wait. 
  • Your camera or phone to take a selfie with your vaccination sticker in the waiting area to promote vaccination throughout your social network and community! #IGotTheShot or #Vaccinate

When you prepare for the vaccination appoint, you should:

  • Wear short sleeves. It makes it much easier for the vaccinator to get to your upper arm for delivering the shot and keeps the lines moving faster. 
  • Wear something comfortable as you may be in your car or in line for a while depending on how fast the lines are moving. 
  • Make sure to hydrate well, get a good night sleep. 
  • If it is your second dose, consider trying to schedule your next day’s activities to be light to prepare for the possibility that you may have side effects. 

Each vaccine point of distribution may have different requirements for what you need to bring with you to your appointment, so be sure to check with your vaccination site before arriving. 

Important tips: 

  1. Be sure to take a picture of and hold on to your vaccination card after you get a first dose of the vaccine! You should bring the physical card to your second appointment as the vaccinators need to record the second dose on the same card. 
  2. It is also a good idea to arrive just a little bit early (15 minutes or less) before your appointment.




The next update will cover tips for what to do after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to COVID-19 in Arizona, please complete next week’s AZCOVIDTXT survey that you will receive via text in about a week.

View Updates from Past Weeks:
Update from week of February 15th (English | Spanish)
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