PHOENIX - Every day, more and more of Arizona becomes vaccinated against COVID-19, and since the launch of the State Farm Stadium site, leaders, including President Joe Biden, have touted it as a national model.
In February, Arizona's report card from Harvard researchers wasn’t great, failing in some categories. However, within a month, Arizona has earned a much better grade. We went from a C to an A -- and we're the first state to make such a drastic leap in grades.
For the last several weeks, everyone in Gila County can get a COVID-19 vaccine. Joshua Beck, Deputy Director of Public Health and Emergency Management in Gila County, says, "To keep using all the vaccines, we had we made sure to open it up to the general population."
In an interview on Monday, Gila County leaders credit the style of their emergency response to the speed of shots. Now they plan to distribute 1,400 Johnson and Johnson doses this weekend.
"We’re trying to use those new Johnson and Johnson doses to hit some of those more rural areas, that way we can do one event," Beck explained.
Dr. Ross Goldberg with the Arizona Medical Association says it’s a sign of how access to the vaccine has become more widespread and the results compared to other states are eye-opening.
As far as Arizona's grade, researchers at the Belfer Center at Harvard University previously gave the state's vaccine response a C. Now the story has changed.
The state now has an A in vaccinations per capita, an A in the time to vaccinate everyone eligible, and a B in vaccinations compared to doses available.
The one category the state still has an F in is deaths, but Harvard researchers expect that to improve overtime compared to other states.
Gila County credited the better grades to the state-wide effort to pinpoint the needs of residents.
Maricopa announced on Monday that 33,900 Johnson and Johnson doses will be available this weekend.
"Really, it’s on all of us to keep the pressure on. To keep those grades high and keep on setting the bar high on how it should be. We should be setting the national standard and keep on pushing for that," Goldberg said.
Gila County said they’ll hit a 50% vaccination rate in the next week or two. They said their only limiting factor to getting to 70%, which is considered herd immunity, is the large portion of the county that is under the age of 18 and not eligible yet.