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Appointments book up at state sites as Arizona opens COVID-19 vaccines to people 55 and older

The new appointments were released by AZDHS after Arizonans who are 55 and older became eligible under a new model to get their COVID-19 shots.

PHOENIX — About 50,000 new appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine released through the state on Tuesday are completely booked up.

The new appointments were released by the Arizona Department of Health Services after Arizonans who are 55 and older became eligible to get their COVID-19 shots under a new model.

RELATED: A step-by-step guide to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona

State appointments booked up in two hours

AZDHS released the 50,000 appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine for select dates at State Farm Stadium and Phoenix Municipal Stadium at noon Tuesday.

By 2 p.m., AZDHS tweeted the appointments had been completely booked.

Jan Sagnella was one newly eligible person who was able to get an appointment.

“It was pretty stressful,” Sagnella said.

Sagnella said it took her about 45 minutes to get her spot. She would get an appointment, but by the time she got through clicking the final questions, the appointment was gone.

Sagnella said she was grateful she was able to get her spot secured.

“I thought if I can go in right away then I can try and get back to some semblance of normalcy in my life,” Sagnella said.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona: Frequently Asked Questions

New model prioritizes Arizonans 55+

The Arizona Vaccine and Antiviral Prioritization Advisory Committee (VAPAC) recommended on Monday a new hybrid model to vaccinate Arizonans.

It now allows those 55 and older and frontline workers to get vaccinated.

“By going by age, we’re able to really capture those at highest risk of hospitalization and death,” Marcy Flanagan, Executive Director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health said.

Counties will move on to new age groups as they get 55% of one group vaccinated. To reach those goals, supply is still going to be a key factor.

“The biggest limiting factor is the amount of vaccine we’re receiving in Arizona,” Flanagan said.

Those 55 and older can get vaccinated at a state vaccination site, pharmacies, or other locations participating in federal vaccination programs.

You can search for appointments here.

Model aims to vaccinate those more at risk for severe cases of COVID-19 

AZDHS said the 55 and older community covers about half to two-thirds of Arizonans who have medical conditions that could lead to more severe cases of the virus.

Viewers have asked 12 News why weren’t all those of any age who are at higher risk included in the new model.

An AZDHS spokesperson told 12 News if they were to include all who were high risk and those 55 and older it would mean 2 million people prioritized, instead of 750,000.

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