Arizona to receive more than 119K Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

Millions of Moderna vaccines are making their across the nation as shipments were sent out Sunday. It's the second COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Health officials say 5.9 million Moderna doses will rollout between Dec. 21-23 across the country.

Arizona will receive about 119,400 doses. Maricopa County, the state's most populated county, will receive 18,500. The other 14 counties and tribal communities will receive doses as well. 

On Dec. 21, Pima County health officials announced it ordered 10,000 vaccines and will be receiving them over the next few days, "which was the maximum allowed during this first order."

"Pinal is excited to announce that a small number of community partners, previously approved by ADHS to provide the COVID-19 vaccine in our county, have received their first allotment today. Those providers will vaccinate their internal healthcare workers," health officials said.

Dr. Tascha Sprears, Director of the Pinal County Health Services said of the shipment, "I am so excited to say that today we started receiving the vaccine in Pinal County."

Healthcare workers are among the first to receive the vaccine.

"That will be used at all long term skilled facilities, nursing, assisted living, all of those that are also identified in phase 1A, that's where we'll use Moderna. It makes sense to do that because Moderna doesn't require the same temperature control and those sorts of things," said Marcy Flanagan with the Maricopa County Health Department.

RELATED: People over 75, essential workers next in line for COVID-19 vaccine

The Moderna vaccine is coming just a week after the nation saw its first COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer doses are already being administered to thousands of people across the world, country and in Arizona.

Flanagan says if your first dose is Pfizer, your second dose has to be the same vaccine. The same goes for Moderna.

While the Moderna vaccine continues to makes its way into Arizona counties, some are still getting their Pfizer vaccines, like Dr. Andrew Carrol, a family physician.

"The Moderna vaccine works exactly the same as Pfizer's, but Moderna has had a lot more experience with miRNA vaccines, which is why their's doesn't require a severe cold storage requirement and it's easier to distribute much easier to store but it has the same effectiveness as Pfizer," Carrol explained.

During the week of Dec. 28, Arizona will see another shipment of 52,000 vaccines. 

Travel nurse grows frustrated waiting for vaccine

A nurse who traveled to Arizona as it became a hotspot and pleaded for additional frontline workers is upset saying she can't get an appointment for a vaccine.

She falls into the group that is being given the first round of vaccines.

"The people that are working frontlines, putting themselves at risk, haven't gotten the vaccine," Nicole said as many frontline medical workers await a vaccine dose.
She works at a major hospital in the Valley in the ICU and emergency room daily. She says she's applied for the vaccine through the Maricopa County Health Department but hasn't heard anything about getting an appointment.

"I'm just really frustrated that the rest of the country seems to be getting the vaccine and I don't even have an appointment, but I'm expected to come to work every day and work with these incredibly sick and COVID positive patients. It's sad to me," Nicole said.

The Maricopa County Health Department said on Dec. 22 it has prescreened more than 46,000 healthcare workers for the vaccine, adding that more than 8,000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated in the first phase of the vaccine rollout.

Ducey applauds 'Operation Warp Speed' for vaccine rollout

On Dec. 21, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey applauded President Donald Trump's "Operation Warp Speed" on Twitter, saying it was a "monumental" operation and is very grateful.

The operation is responsible for the vaccine's rollout within less than a year of the pandemic's beginning.