COVID-19 vaccine availability hinders Arizona healthcare worker goals

Arizona healthcare workers requested 300,000 additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per week from the federal government as they say it’s been a tough battle but there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

As of Feb. 3, more than 700,000 doses have been administered in the state, but the goal of healthcare workers is to have millions of Arizonans vaccinated.

"We’ve got the manpower. We’ve got the real estate. We need the vaccine," says Tom Leeper, Arizona National Guard Task Force Medical Commander.

On Feb. 3, healthcare workers worked to get more vaccines to Arizonans by adding another 21,000 appointments this week. Those timeslots were all booked within 40 minutes.

"The biggest limiting factor in getting the vaccine into the hands of Arizonans is availability," Leeper says, adding, at the 24/7 State Farm Stadium vaccination site, they are giving out about 12,000 shots each day.

That's still not operating at full capacity.

"We just need more vaccine and we’ve been working hard setting up PODS and demonstrating capacity hoping that the federal government will supply more vaccine," Leeper explained.

Governor Doug Ducey is also calling on representatives in Washington to push for more vaccines in Arizona, saying, "There could be no better use of your time or advocacy efforts than in helping to secure these vaccine doses for the people of Arizona to help end this pandemic for good."

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According to the governor’s office, the state requested 300,000 additional doses of the vaccine per week, and that request was denied.

Leeper says he remains hopeful because the state’s vaccination sites have been successful so far.

"We encourage people don’t give up. We are starting to turn the corner. We’re working at it on our side. I am sure the federal government is gonna increase vaccine availability so keep plugging along. We are gonna get Arizona vaccinated and back to normal," Leeper said.

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