TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County has announced it is moving into a new phase for coronavirus vaccinations nearly a month after starting the process which included doctors, nurses and staff. About 31,000 have been vaccinated in phase 1A.
Phase 1B will include police, fire, those 75+ and other essential personnel. It’s a large group which the county estimates will could be as many as 325,000 people. It’s hoped this group will be finished by the end of March.
That could change though if the county sees an increase in the number of doses it receives.
The county gets 12,000 doses a week, far below the number it needs to reach its goals.
“It’s a huge problem on the supply side,” said Dr. Francisco Garcia, the Pima County Chief Medical Officer. “And its a problem that we have very limited control over.”
Still, the county health department unveiled its plan to vaccinate up 750,000 Pima County residents by the end of June by adding at least four other mass vaccination sites, including the TCC and the Kino Sports Complex.
The county is hoping by approving a plan and putting it into practice, the county will be in a position to be first in line to receive more doses when they become available.
“In terms of getting the vaccine, there isn’t a day that goes by when we’re not talking with the state saying ‘hey we’re down here in Pima County, make sure we have an adequate supply,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, the Pima County Medical Director.
Because the Department of Health and Human Services has announced it will release all of its vaccine doses rather than holding half of them back for the second needed dose, the supply could increase in the coming days.
The Centers for Disease Control has also announced those aged 65+ should be included in the new round of vaccinations.
The state of Arizona has modified its policy and has added 750,000 people 65+ to its list.
Pima County may follow suit.
“If we get more vaccine and we can accelerate, we would quickly go to that 65 and up group,” Dr. Cullen said. “But right now we have made a decision to stay at 75.”
The county will bring its 1B registration on line at 9:00 a.m. on January 14, 2021, It can be found on the county website.