Free vaccines on Feb 12th usher in Year of the Rabbit  

Chinatown celebrates the Lunar New Year.

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. In Manhattan, the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival will offer vaccines at its event on Sunday, February 12, which starts at Mott and Canal streets 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

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