Older Adults Can Start the Year of the Rabbit on a Healthy Note Even as COVID Lingers

From the We Can Do This COVID-19 Public Education Campaign

With vaccines and treatments, we’ve come a long way in preventing the worst outcomes from COVID-19. But older adults remain among the most at risk. As we gather together to celebrate Lunar New Year, there are many tools that older adults — and anyone — can use to help protect against a severe COVID infection.

Here are a few ways older adults and their loved ones can begin the Year of the Rabbit in the best health possible: 

Get an updated vaccine. With Lunar New Year dinners and festivals quickly approaching, having an updated vaccine is an effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones — of all ages — as the celebrations ensue. CDC recommends people 65 and older stay current with their COVID vaccines because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID. Staying up to date means getting an updated vaccine as soon as you can. An updated COVID vaccine can restore protection that has waned over time from earlier doses. If you’ve recently had COVID, wait three months before getting your updated vaccine.

Lunar New Year and New Year celebrations across the country this month and next will be offering vaccine clinics with the updated vaccine, including:

  • The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i will be celebrating the Year of the Rabbit at its ‘Ohana Festival with a vaccine clinic 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, at JCCH, 2454 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, HI.
  • That same weekend is the San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival & Parade’s Flower Market Fair, which is taking place on Jan. 14-15 Grant Avenue and will offer vaccines.
  • The Tu-Gether Lunar New Year Festival in LA takes place with a vaccine clinic on Jan. 21-22 in Monterey Park, CA.
  • Later that week, Chinese New Year in the Desert will be held on Jan. 28 with a spring festival—and vaccine clinic—at Fremont East Entertainment District in downtown Las Vegas.
  • Chicago celebrates with the Chinatown Lunar New Parade Jan. 29, and vaccines will be available at the event, in downtown Chicago.
  • San Diego’s Chinese New Year Fair will have a vaccine clinic on-site on as it celebrates on Feb. 4-5 in downtown San Diego.
  • The Manhattan Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival will offer vaccines at its event on Sunday, Feb. 12, which starts at Mott and Canal in New York at 1 p.m.

Continue practicing healthy habits. In addition to vaccines, there are plenty of things you can do to help protect yourself from a COVID infection. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. When feeling ill, stay home and rest to take care of yourself and the people you care about. Avoid crowded spaces and spaces that are not well ventilated. If you must be in those spaces, limit your time there and consider wearing a mask.

Find ways to relieve stress. The ongoing pandemic has been stressful for many people, including older adults — and admitting that is ok! Daily routines have been upended, and many have experienced increased loneliness, stress, and anxiety. Tips for coping with stress include having an open conversation with someone you trust, taking a break from the news, unwinding with physical activities that you enjoy, eating healthy foods, and finding ways to stay connected with family, friends, and community.

Updated COVID vaccines are currently free and widely available. For more information and to find a vaccine, visit www.vaccines.gov.

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