Pima County sees decrease in new vaccination appointments, officials work to figure out why

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 8:24 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 5:10 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County officials want to know why some people opt to skip the COVID-19 vaccine as the county sees a decrease in appointments. Now, county officials said they’re working to reinforce the community’s confidence in safely getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Surveying community groups so we can better understand their concerns with the vaccine,” said Aaron Pacheco, the communications manager for the Pima County Health Department.

Vaccine hesitancy has become an issue at the University of Arizona’s distribution site as well.

“We’re not going away until we’ve exhausted every single opportunity to get a needle into everybody’s arm,” said Dr. Richard Carmona, the 17th U.S. Surgeon General and leader of the UA’s re-entry process.

Carmona said the site has had days with hundreds of unfilled appointments and he’s theorizing the reason for some people’s reluctance.

“There are those people who just don’t trust the government, don’t trust this. It was too fast. They’re afraid. We’ve done everything we can to educate, inspire,” Carmona said.

They believe part of the reason for open appointments is from the vaccine supply catching up with the demand.

“It’s also probably attributable to the pharmacies getting them. Walmart, Costco, CVS and people just going out and getting them,” said Holly Jensen, the UA vice president of Communications.

UA President Dr. Robert Robbins said the vaccines are especially important as new strains of the virus pop up in Arizona.

“The virus is mutating and changing to try to survive,” Robbins said. “If we don’t vaccinate ourselves, we’re going to be providing this safe haven for this virus to continue to spread and continue to infect people.”

The county plans to roll out a social media campaign starting this week to encourage everyone, including younger people, to get vaccinated.

The university recommends students who are leaving southern Arizona this summer receive their first dose by this Friday to ensure they have time to get both shots.

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