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Valley health care workers haven't gotten COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Maricopa County says more than 40,000 people have filled out a prescreen form to get the vaccine.

PHOENIX — COVID-19 vaccines arriving in Arizona have been a glimmer of hope for frontline health care workers as they tirelessly battle the pandemic.

But some are telling 12 News they haven’t been able to get an appointment scheduled to get their shot.

Nicole K. is a Valley emergency room critical care nurse and sees COVID-19 patients every day.

“Every shift is extremely challenging,” Nicole said.

On top of working with contagious patients, she also has asthma.

“To be seeing so many people so very, very sick and fighting for their lives, it’s always on the back of your mind and so when I found out that the vaccine had gotten approved I was like relieved, and excited,” Nicole said.

As the vials started arriving in Arizona, she got ready to get her vaccine by completing the prescreen process through Maricopa County, but she said she doesn’t yet have an appointment on the books.

“As of yesterday no one that I work with or personally know has been able to get a vaccine appointment,” Nicole said.

Other health care workers told 12 News the same thing.

According to the county’s vaccine dashboard, more than 2,300 people have received their first dose of the vaccine. In a news conference Friday, county health leaders said more than 40,000 people have filled out a prescreen form.

“We know that it is taking time between when you completed that prescreen and when you are receiving schedule notification this is intentional,” Maricopa County Department of Public Health Executive Director Marcy Flanagan said.

Flanagan added that the county is ramping up the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Three more PODs, or points of distribution, will open up on Monday and more appointments will come as time goes on. 

The PODs are open to those most at-risk of contracting the virus now and will be open to the general public starting in spring 2021.

“Thank you for your patience while we work through this,” Flanagan said.

But for nurses like Nicole, getting her shot can’t come soon enough.

“It’s heartbreaking to have to work in these environments and I personally really want some peace of mind at this point,” Nicole said.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, subscribe to the 12 News YouTube channel.