Arizonans aged 16 and older now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Any Arizonan who is 16 and older can now register for the COVID-19 vaccine at state-run vaccination sites in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma County.

"Our goal has been and remains to get vaccine into the community as quickly, widely and equitably as possible," said Governor Ducey in an announcement made March 22. "Given a thorough review of vaccination data, anticipated vaccine supply, and current demand among prioritized groups, now is the time to take this critical next step."

State officials had cited softening demand and increased supply when they announced on Monday the planned expansion of eligibility for appointments at state-run vaccination sites.

The state’s minimum for age-based eligibility had been 55.

All appointments that were made available for Wednesday morning have been booked, the Arizona Department of Health Services said.

Appointments are also being opened up at 11 A.M. every Friday for State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Tempe, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, the University of Arizona in Tucson and Yuma Civic Center in Yuma County.

Sites using the Pfizer vaccine can immunize anyone 16 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are approved for those 18 and older.

Arizona is among the first states to allow anyone to sign up for vaccine appointments. President Joe Biden has said he wants states to take that step by May 1 and seek to vaccinate everyone who wants a shot by the end of May.

About 2.9 million vaccine doses have been given to about 1.1 million people so far in Arizona, according to state officials.

The change applies only to state-run vaccination sites, which have distributed the bulk of the vaccines in Arizona but are in urban areas. Counties and some pharmacies have their own vaccine supplies and eligibility criteria, such as a health condition or a job in an essential industry.

Anyone who needs extra help registering can call the state's helpline at 1-844-542-8201.

Find Arizona vaccination sites here: http://azhealth.gov/findvaccine

Schedule an appointment at a state-run site here: https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov/

Arizona on Wednesday reported 605 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 44 more deaths as eligibility for appointments at state-run vaccination sites was expanded to everyone 16 and older.

The latest figures increased Arizona’s pandemic totals to 837,849 cases and 16,842 deaths and COVID-19-related hospitalizations as of Tuesday remained at roughly 650 for the third straight day, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

MORE: Navajo Nation reports no COVID-related deaths for 3rd day in a row

Seven-daily rolling averages of daily new cases dropped from 1,304 on March 8 to 489 on Monday as the daily deaths rolling average dropped from 45 to 32 during the same period, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Read the full release: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2021/03/arizona-expands-covid-19-vaccination-eligibility-all

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Some are working at COVID-19 vaccination sites as volunteers in order to get vaccine

HandsOn Greater Phoenix has been offering volunteering opportunities at two mass vaccination sites in the Valley, allowing those who are not yet eligible for a vaccine to get one, after they help out the ongoing COIVD-19 vaccination efforts.

Arizona reports 488 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths

Arizona’s pandemic totals rose to 836,253 cases and 16,745 known deaths since the pandemic began.

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.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

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.

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