PHOENIX - Officials with the Arizona Governor's Office say the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the state on the week of Dec. 13.
According to a statement released on Dec. 9, the state is expected to receive 383,750 COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of December, and that in the first week, vaccine doses will be distributed to Maricopa and Pima counties.
"Maricopa will receive approximately 47,000 doses and Pima will receive approximately 11,000 doses, totaling approximately 58,000 doses," read a portion of the statement.
In the following weeks, officials say vaccines will be distributed to all other counties in the state, in addition to at least four Native American tribes, and the CDC Pharmacy Partnership program for vaccination at skilled nursing facilities.
"Every skilled nursing facility in Arizona has opted to participate in the CDC Program, which will provide vaccinations to all residents and staff in the facilities statewide," read a portion of the statement.
Arizona's COVID-19 vaccination plan details phased approach
According to a draft COVID-19 vaccination plan released by the Arizona Department of Health Services, vaccine distribution will take a phased approach.
During the first phase, state officials say supplies may be constrained, and vaccination efforts will focus on, at first, people serving in healthcare settings who "have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home," later expanding to other essential workers and people who have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness, including those 65 years of age or older.
Eventually, vaccination efforts will focus on the general population.
According to an executive order issued by Governor Doug Ducey on Dec. 2, all Arizonans will receive a COVID-19 vaccine, free of charge. Gov. Ducey said taxpayer dollars will not be used to pay for the vaccines.
Maricopa County looking for volunteers to administer vaccine
As one can imagine, it is going to take serious effort to distribute those vaccines effectively and safely, and in Maricopa County, officials are looking for volunteers to complete the task.
"Basically, we're trying to vaccinate over 4.5 million people eventually, so we definitely do not have enough staffing for that," said June Vutrano with Maricopa County Public Health. "There’s a lot of medical staffing in Arizona who are wonderful, but they are going to be taking care of their own, and then, we have the whole entire population down the road to vaccinate."
The volunteers will need to be medically certified, but county officials say they will also need help with other tasks.
"So, the vaccine comes in two doses, so there will be a first round, it looks like they’re going to run about 10 days and try to vaccinate the whole group in attending," said Vutrano. "Then in three weeks, we have to go back and re-vaccinate the very same group of people, so we’re talking about 10 days straight of work, so you need a lot of volunteers."
Preliminary data: 3 vaccines show high efficacy
Throughout November, there have been news that three COVID-19 vaccines show high efficacy, based on early test results.
On Nov. 9, Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine, which was jointly developed with its German partner BioNTech, may be 90% effective. On Nov. 20, the two companies formally submitted a request for emergency use authorization. According to reports from FOX News on Dec. 8, Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine meets the FDA's requirements for emergency use authorization, based on documents posted ahead of the FDA's scheduled meeting on Dec. 10.
On Nov. 16, Moderna announced that its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective.
On Nov. 23, AstraZeneca announced that its COVID-19 vaccine with Oxford University was up to 90% effective in preventing disease, based on interim analysis of late-stage trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil.
Maricopa County Public Health Volunteers
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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
CDC Website for COVID-19
https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)
AZDHS Website for COVID-19