PHOENIX - Arizona health officials say they are seeing demand for COVID-19 vaccinations slowing, particularly at large sites.
"What I think we’re seeing right now is supply starting to meet demand," Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services director, said at a press conference Monday.
It comes as Arizona reported 27 more COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, raising its pandemic death toll above 17,000. The state also reported 750 new COVID-19 cases, increasing the total number of confirmed infections to 846,230.
The state also reported 750 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases as the state’s totals increased to 846,230 cases and 17,023 deaths.
The state plans to release more public service announcements encouraging people to get vaccinated, and Christ said she hopes that’ll help address vaccine hesitancy.
"But we do anticipate that the demand will start to slow a little bit," she added.
The number of people in Arizona who have received at least one dose has reached 2.4 million, or 33.4% of the population, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.
Once demand for the large state-run sites falls off, likely in two or three more months, vaccination efforts will shift to pharmacies and community events, Christ said.
The state operates three large sites in metro Phoenix and plans a fourth. There also are one each in Tucson and Yuma.
Dr. Bharat Magu, Yuma Regional Medical Center’s chief medical officer, said factors ranging from spring break to a sense of COVID-19 fatigue could be combining to reduce demand for vaccinations, the Yuma Sun reported. However, the shots are important to reduce the virus’ spread.
"We are definitely not even close to celebrating a victory," Magu said.
In Mohave County, Public Health Director Denise Burley said the vaccine supply in coming weeks may gradually outweigh demand, raising the possibility that the area’s doses could be reallocated, The Miner reported. Burley urged people to get vaccinated soon to ensure the county keeps getting vaccine.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona ranks 12th highest among U.S. states in the number of COVID-19 deaths and sixth highest in the rate per 100,000 of population.
The state’s death toll topped 17,000 five weeks after reaching 16,000 on March 2, a sharp deacceleration from the 12 days between then and when the toll reached 15,000 on Feb. 17 during the downswing in the fall and winter surge.
Arizona’s seven-day rolling average of daily deaths dropped over the past two weeks, dropping from 32 on March 22 to 9.3 as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Meanwhile, the rolling average of daily new cases in Arizona increased during the same period, rising from 480.9 to 628.9.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations continued to hover in the 500-600 range, with 574 patients occupying inpatient beds as of Tuesday, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.
Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily
Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.
And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.
FOX 10 is working to keep you up to date with local and national developments on COVID-19. Every weekday on FOX News Now, our live coverage begins at 7 a.m. MST reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest coronavirus news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.