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COVID-19 vaccine rollout disappointing as some Arizona health care workers prepare for second dose

Only three of Arizona's 15 counties have entered into Phase 1B vaccinations as of Tuesday.

PHOENIX — Arizona Department of Public Health officials say 101,030 COVID-19 vaccines entered the arms of Phase 1A health care workers across the state.

It's been three weeks since those initial doses. 

ADHS says the state has received 314,750 doses in total and expects another 140,000 this week, with 60,000 of those being second doses. 

But only three counties in the state are prepared to enter Phase 1B vaccinations: Pinal County, Gila County, and according to a tweet from Gov. Doug Ducey, Santa Fe County are ready to vaccinate teachers, childcare staff, protective service workers, and people 75 and older. 

Every county is so different,” said Dr. Tascha Spears, executive director of public health in Pinal County. “Our first allocation actually got split among 14 community partners, as well as Pinal County Public Health.”   

Maricopa County is different. Public health officials allocated the vaccine to five different points of distribution and experienced issues with appointments at two of their locations along with slower scheduling during the first week.

 "Our original goal was to have all interested healthcare workers vaccinated in 10 days, however, due to technical issues, we were not able to ramp up and schedule as quickly as needed to reach that goal," said Maricopa County officials. 

You just can't vaccinate that many people logistically with that limited number of sites,” said Will Humble, Executive Director for the Arizona Public Health Association.  

Ducey announced an executive order last Wednesday aimed at speeding up the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Arizona.

The order, according to Ducey’s office, expands access to the vaccine by streamlining distribution and establishing additional vaccination sites.

Each county currently has its own implementation plans. The governor’s order directs the Arizona Department of Health Services to implement a state-directed allocation model that has “a goal of a uniform approach."

In a statement to 12 News, ADHS expanded on the governor's recent Executive Order 2020-62

The order, "makes the process of expanding vaccination to later groups even more efficient by empowering ADHS to directly provide vaccine to partners statewide including large pharmacy chains and other provider groups that are located in multiple counties."

On Wednesday, a group of frontline healthcare workers will receive second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Arizona Department of Health Services in coordination with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. 

ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ will be joined by a diverse group of healthcare workers to receive their second doses of vaccine and share what the vaccine means to them and the people they serve.  

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See the vaccination rate across Arizona by county below:

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