Pima County to receive additional vaccine, but not enough to meet demand

Pima County to receive additional vaccine, but not enough to meet demand
COVID-19 vaccine. (Source: Pima County Health)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County is scheduled to receive another 29,000 COVID-19 vaccinations from the state, but it is not enough to meet the demands of Pima County.

“What would make sense in Pima County is for us to have a reliable number of vaccines allocated that is proportional to our population, as compared to the rest of the state. I need to be getting here in Pima County about 100,000 vaccines a week. I am thankful to my state partners giving up 29,000, which is twice as many as they gave us the week before, but that is still woefully insufficient for the need that we have,” said Dr. Garcia, Pima County’s Health Director and Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Garcia said Pima County has received about 107,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and the county has administered 59,000 of those doses.

“We continue to advocate every single day to the state health department, the governor’s office, our congressional delegation that the sole limiting step in the equation at this time is vaccine supply and that is imperative that Pima County gets its fair share,” Dr. Garcia said.

Dr. Garcia said on Tuesday afternoon, they put 800 doses of vaccine in the hands of partners who are serving rural communities in the county.

“They have been very successful at vaccinating their target population and the target population in this case is those 75 years of age and older,” Dr. Garcia said.

Pima County is still vaccinating those in Phase 1B which includes adults 75-years-old and older, educators K-12 and certain emergency personnel.

“There are 350,000 people in that category, so we have a ways to go before we start working our way down the list,” said Dr. Garcia.

Dr. Garcia said he will not advocate to expand the eligibility groups until they get further through the bulk of the 75 and older population.

Dr. Garcia said unless the vaccine flow from the state to the county starts loosening up, he cannot begin to have a conversation about vaccinating those 65 and up at this time.

“I still can’t figure out how to vaccinate everybody else in that priority group,” Dr. Garcia.

While Pima County is starting to see a slight decline in the percent positivity rate on a week by week basis, Dr. Garcia said it would premature to say we have reached a plateau.

“Yes, there are some indicators to suggest that cases are tending to flatten. It is at a very high cases count. So a plateau at 1,000 cases is very different from a plateau at 100 cases, so I would not be claiming victory just yet,” Dr. Garcia said.

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