Pima County Vaccination Plan: moving to Phase 1B and expanding vaccination sites

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 10:27 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Health Department said they are getting close to moving to Phase 1B for vaccinations.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services data, Pima County has vaccinated 20,335 people as of Tuesday, Jan. 5th. The vaccination rate is at 1,946 per 100,000 people.

“It’s wonderful that we have the highest vaccination rate in the state, but none of us should be happy with where we are right now,” said PCHD Director Dr. Theresa Cullen.

During a media briefing Tuesday, Cullen said they expect to have 65,000 vaccinated by the end of this week.

“What matters is that we get a significant number of our community vaccinated. And we’ve given ourselves a March 31st timeline to anticipate that. We will have a significant number of people vaccinated by then,” said Cullen.

In order to reach that deadline, the next step is moving onto Phase 1B. Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francisco Garcia, predicts that group 1B may start getting vaccinated at the end of next week. This, of course, depends on if they can finish with group 1A in time. Garcia predicted finishing that group by the middle of next week at this rate.

They’re also looking at expanding vaccination sites to places like the Tucson Convention Center, Kino Sports Complex and Rillito Race Track over the next few weeks.

“We would like to set one up, get it going, have it well established, while simultaneously planning for the second, third, and potentially more sites,” said Garcia.

Garcia said they’re not waiting for the state department of health to iron out the details of the vaccine distribution executive order that came out last week.

Instead, they’re moving forward, working on how Phase 1B people will get their shots, since there are 5 categories.

“It may be a worksite, it may be a pod, like TMC or Banner. It may be their own individual doctors office. Part of the strategy here is to have the greatest degree of flexibility that we can to serve the largest number of people,” said Garcia.

The general public will wait a little longer for the vaccine, but Dr. Cullen hopes to have at least one shot in the vast majority by the end of the summer.

And some good news, Dr. Cullen said those who were vaccinated on December 15th, have already received their second shot, meaning there is a small group now fully vaccinated in Pima county.

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