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

Several Arizona doctors penned another letter to Gov. Doug Ducey and state health leaders on Dec. 17 asking for further COVID-19 mitigation measures, saying the vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel but more preventative measures need to be in place.

On top of vaccine hurdles and majorly impacted hospitals, several states learned they wouldn't be getting as many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as planned on Friday, receiving up to 20 to 40% less.

Arizona is one of those states impacted.

Will Humble, with the Arizona Health Association and former director of the state's health department, says the hiccups that impacted the vaccine's rollout won't have a major negative impact on the overall situation. 

"Really the whole country got short-changed by a mistake that was made by the Department of Defense, so it wasn't just an Arizona thing," Humble explained.

Week one of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine rollout and shortages across the nation, Army General Gustave Perna took full responsibility saying it was a miscommunication.

Perna is the Army general in charge of getting COVID-19 vaccines across the United States.

"Many have heard allegations of vaccines being cut. I want to assure everybody and I want to take personal responsibility. I know that is not done much, but I am responsible and I take responsibility for the miscommunication," Perna said.

Humble believes the shortage won't have a huge impact on the pandemic overall but it may affect health care staffing availability. 

The real issue will come if a shortage continues to happen, he added.

"If something happens with the assisted living vaccines and that goes south, I would see that very damaging because the sooner we can get seniors and staff vaccinated the better we will be," Humble said.

The vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel, but Humble says if Arizona officials continue in the direction we're going, things will get worse.

He, along with others in the medical industry, sent another letter urging Governor Doug Ducey and health director Dr. Cara Christ for a plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Ducey has never set a statewide mask mandate, but municipalities within Arizona have set them. Ducey encourages mask-wearing and personal responsibility when it comes to mitigation of the virus spread.

"I don't think they have plans to mitigate this. I think the plan is to just vaccinate as many people as they can as the doses become available and that's the intervention. We're sadly given the attitude of the governor and the health director," Humble said.

There's no word yet if the state will take the suggestions given by health officials in the letter.

Read the full letter here.