“We don’t” Christ continued. “Everything is a recommendation.”
Beyond that, Christ said she and Ducey made the decision that Arizona has to return to a point where people make their own decisions about the risk the virus poses to their own health.
She said that’s no different than any other disease, like the flu, where her department makes various recommendations but ultimately leaves it up to individuals to assess their own health risks.
“It’s really about that personal responsibility,” she said.
Consider the flu, she said. “We’ve recommended for years that everybody get a flu shot, wear a mask, to stay home when you are sick. All of that works for influenza, just like it does for COVID.”
But Christ pointed out that those flu recommendations never translated into mandates, even as the state sees a surge in hospitalizations every winter.
The decision to scrap mandates comes as the state remains far short of having 70% of its population vaccinated, the point at which Arizona would approach “herd immunity” so that a new outbreak would not spread rapidly.
As of Friday, March 26, the state reported 1.2 million were fully inoculated, whether with the second dose of the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That is only about 22% of those 16 and older, the age at which the vaccine has been approved for use.