Handful of minor reactions reported during COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Maricopa County

Maricopa County wrapped up a second full day of giving vaccine shots to healthcare workers.

There have been a handful of reported adverse effects, but overall, things are moving smoothly.

The healthcare workers are getting the vaccinations at two pods. By next week, there will be five locations, along with another shipment of the vaccine. A small, but important first step in ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

The first vaccine shots in Maricopa County were met with claps and cheers. By sundown Dec. 18, nearly 2,500 doses were administered.

"I am a bundle of nerves right now. We've been waiting for a year for this. I've been taking care of sick patients for a year, so I'm very excited for this. It's a very exciting day. Here we go," said Lindsey, an intensive care unit nurse at Banner Health.

Ruben, a pediatrician at Banner Health added, "This is an exciting moment because we will get to help more people. Hopefully, this is the light at the end of the tunnel to this COVID pandemic."

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

Healthcare workers are the first to get the shots. After one day, there were only 11 reports of problems. All minor, mostly anxiety related. The shots may come with a sore arm and some chills, but shouldn't last long. It's a small price to pay for protection against a deadly virus.

"I have to risk something because right now, there's nothing. And right now, COVID is out of control. So I'd be willing to risk that to be first," said Regina, a nurse at Valleywise Hospital.

Regular county residents should start getting shots in late spring or early summer, which is phase three.

The shots are free and should be like getting the flu shot from your doctor or at your local pharmacy. By then, health experts hope much of the fear will subside.

"Hey, I feel great. Maybe a day or two of soreness or fatigue. But as we get more stories, we can share. And we know someone from their circle of contacts the confidence will grow and build," said Dr. Marcy Flanagan, Executive Directore of the Maricopa County Health Department.

The state is working on a public service announcement to go over the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine in the coming weeks.

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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

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Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic:

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Half of Arizona counties seeing substantial virus spread

Weekly metrics released by the Arizona Department of Health Services listed eight counties in southern and eastern Arizona, including Pima, with a substantial number of cases.