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Doctors urge Utahns age 70 and older to get COVID vaccine as soon as possible

By Mary Richards, KSL Newsradio | Posted - Jan. 19, 2021 at 8:06 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Utah doctors urge residents over the age of 70 to seek out the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Dr. Mark Supiano, chief of the division of geriatrics at the University of Utah, said the myths and misinformation needs to be dispelled to save lives. People over the age of 65 account for 70% of deaths in Utah.

"We know that age is a very strong risk factor for bad outcomes with COVID," Supiano said. "So it is extremely important that older adults, at this point 70 and older, receive the vaccine as soon as possible."

Supiano said you can't get COVID-19 from the vaccine and allergic reactions are very rare.

Doctors: Seniors need COVID vaccine

But because of the way a vaccine works, it is possible to get side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines teach your immune system how to recognize a virus so you can fight it in the future. Side effects come from your body building up that immune response.

"You can have fever. You can have fatigue. You can have muscle aches. I had some joint pains and muscle aches when I had my second dose. Essentially, what that is, is your body's immune system mounting to this virus and your immunity building," said Dr. Emily Spivak.

"The side effects are minimal, short-lived and, given the overwhelming benefits and efficacy that we've seen, certainly well worth proceeding with the vaccine," Supiano said.

According to the latest numbers from the Utah Department of Health, out of the state's 1,507 deaths from COVID to date, 1,166 involved Utahns over the age of 65.

Spivak and Supiano say the faster Utah can get people vaccinated, the closer the state will get to herd immunity — and an end to the pandemic.

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Mary Richards

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