Pima County Health answers COVID-19 vaccine questions

Pima County Health answers COVID-19 vaccine questions
(Source: WAVE 3 News)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - On Friday, Jan. 15, Pima County officially moved into Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations, however, it has prompted many questions from residents.

KOLD reached out to the Pima County Health Department to answer some of the frequently asked questions.

How many vaccines does Pima County currently have on hand? When might the County receive more?

  • Pima County has completed 35,988 vaccinations and the state has sent us 80,525 total doses to date(Jan. 14), which leaves 44,537 on hand. However, all of those have been allotted for upcoming vaccination centers or been accounted for by first or second dose appointments and registrations.

Are ALL of the appointments booked up right now? Or is it just for the 75 plus group?

  • All of the current appointments for available vaccines at the two sites operated by Banner and the one at Tucson Medical Center are accounted for by registrations. This includes all members of Group 1A, not just people over age 75. More than 35,000 Pima County residents signed up for appointments on Jan. 14 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

When/how often should people try to register when their category has been filled?

  • People who are eligible to register TMC, TCC or UA, will receive a notification that they can make an appointment. For Banner, they will need to keep checking the Banner site to see if an appointment is available.

Why did Pima County decide to move ahead with vaccinating 1B members like teachers and law enforcement before finishing with the 1B 75 plus group?

  • The County has been planning to include teachers and protective services in 1B priority for a while. When CDC and AZDHS updated their recommendations in late December 2020, PCHD added that grouping to our 1B priority as well.

How many people can get vaccinated at these sites per day?

  • Once all the Pima County PODS are operational (including Rillito and Green Valley), we will be able to vaccinate between 12,000 and 16,000 people a day. But we would need that much vaccine to make that a reality. The limiting factor is the availability of vaccines.

When will the County be finished with the 1A group?

  • Group 1A will remain eligible for vaccinations throughout the vaccination process and may make appointments at any time.

How long could it take to get through the 1B group?

  • The first priority groups – over 75, educators, and protective services, will take about 10 weeks at the current rate of vaccine allotment from the state. If we get more vaccines, it will go faster. It will take another 12 weeks or so to get through the rest of 1B, which would include the 65+ the CDC and the state are now including in Phase 1B.

What’s your biggest message to people waiting their turn to receive the vaccine?

  • Be patient and be persistent. Currently, we receive about 12,000 vaccines a week from the state, so it will take time several months to get all of those in 1B vaccinated. Obviously, there is a great demand for these treatments, so we encourage people to keep trying. We will announce new vaccination locations as they open up. If things go as planned, everyone in Pima County who wants a vaccine will have received a vaccination by June 2021.

Those 65 and older are in the 1B group according to AZDHS, but they currently can’t get the vaccine in Pima County due to availability. When should *they start trying to register or can they register right now and go on a waiting list? How long before they can get the vaccine?

  • We are tracking the demographics of the people getting the vaccine and the rate of registrations. If we get to the point where appointments for the current priority groups are not being filled, we will open registration to the other groups in Phase 1B.

We will continue to keep you updated with information about the COVID-19 vaccination effort in Pima County.

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