Dignity Health activates COVID-19 vaccination pod at Chandler Gilbert Community College

More Arizona frontline healthcare workers will receive the COVID-19 vaccine as Dignity Health has set up a vaccine pod at Chandler Gilbert Community College, where doses will be distributed starting at 7:00 a.m. on Dec. 21.

The site will be vaccinating people in the priority 1A group, which includes frontline healthcare workers who are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19.

The @DignityHealth vaccination for healthcare workers will be starting shortly. About 800 cars will be coming through today [Dec. 21, 2020]. (@TyFOX10)

The event began at 6:30 a.m. with a blessing of the hands ceremony for the workers who will be administering the vaccine. Then a group of the hospital system's own employees, including an intensive care unit nurse, respiratory therapist, and environmental services team member.

Dozens of healthcare workers lined up in their vehicles Monday morning and we caught up with an occupational therapist who was pulled in to help in a COVID ICU ward. She was one of the first people to get vaccinated and urges everyone to get the vaccine as soon as they are able to do so.

"I am so excited to be a part of this. The last year has been exhausting, and it's been stressful, but I've also seen like a lot of good come together with my co-workers and if this can help create an end in sight to all of this.. this entire process we've been experiencing. We are all for it," she said.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

This comes as Arizona and other states are reporting that shipments of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine will be significantly smaller than expected.

The Arizona Department of Health Services says the state was expecting more than 70,000 doses this week, but less than 41,000 doses could be ordered. The department says no explanation was given for the shortfall.

However, the recently approved Moderna vaccine is expected to begin arriving in Arizona on Dec. 21 and it is expected to be given to health workers and nursing home residents.

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

COVID-19 cases in Arizona continue to spike. As of Dec. 20, more than 5,300 new cases were reported, bringing the total cases to more than 453,000. There were also 34 new deaths, bringing that total to nearly 8,000.

Numbers for ICU beds and ventilators in use are down, but ICU beds are at 91% capacity.

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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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Top Congressional leaders agree on COVID-19 relief deal, next is a vote

The country's top lawmakers agreed to a COVID-19 relief deal late Saturday night, clearing the way for a vote to seal the relief package on Sunday.

Doctors pen letter to Gov. Ducey, health leaders asking for COVID-19 mitigation

Although the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived to Arizona, doctors are asking for more preventative measures from the state's governor to help with an overwhelmed healthcare system.