Doctors: Current vaccine distribution may not help with Arizona's rate of COVID-19 spread

All eyes are on Arizona right now, because according to experts, the state is the world’s hot spot for COVID-19, with the new case numbers breaking records every day.

Doctors say the vaccination rate may not be enough. This is coming after the first 24/7 vaccine facility has opened just days ago on Jan. 11.

Doctors say Arizona's numbers are astonishing, adding that testing is not widely available and that even though the vaccine is here, it's not getting out fast enough.

"We are pretty much at 10,000 cases per day. I never thought Arizona would reach that level," said Joshua Labaer, executive director of the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute.

He says case numbers and the positivity rates are extraordinary, adding, "It means there are a lot of people in our state walking around with COVID."

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The reason for the increase, he says, could be because people are letting up on the protocols because the vaccine is out.

"The number of people getting the vaccine is tiny," he said.

Dr. Joe Gerald, a professor of Public Health Policy and Management at the University of Arizona says at the rate the virus is growing, the state won’t be able to vaccinate its way out of it.

"Our outbreak is progressing so quickly and our vaccine is rolling out so slowly. We will, unfortunately, achieve natural immunity before we get a vaccine-induced immunity," Gerald said.

He says the only way to save lives right now is to impose a lockdown — or focus on altering business at places like restaurants, movie theaters and gyms.

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"The state has not put in the best incentives to allow people to stay at home and do the right thing," Gerald said.

Doctors say the goal is to reach vaccine-induced immunity because then Arizonans can avoid the ICU, hospitalizations and death.

Until we get there, doctors are asking anyone to follow protocols.