PHOENIX - For some Arizonans, getting the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is a hurdle. Getting the second dose has become another challenge.
Navigating through state and county health websites is an ongoing obstacle for many.
The Arizona Department of Health Services says a good amount of people have contacted them about second doses at county point of dispensing vaccination sites, known as PODS.
They want to know when they'll be notified to get their second dose and if there are even appointments available when they're eligible for it.
Marissa Calderon is an early childhood administrator, so she's in Phase 1B to get the vaccine. She already got her first dose on Jan. 20 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
"I have a child that has a respiratory illness which is why everybody is home except for me," she explained.
Nearly two weeks later, she says she's struggling to get the right appointment for her second dose. Maricopa County Public Health sent Calderon an email days ago telling her, "The goal is to get second doses administered as close to the manufacturer recommended timeframe as possible," which is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine.
Later, a private email invite led her to the state's health website.
"I can access it to make my appointment but there is no availability for my actual week," she explained. At the time, the first available slots fell on Feb. 2, which wouldn't be within the recommended 21 days since the first dose.
She needs her second dose on Feb. 11. Now, her main concern is starting the entire vaccine process all over again.
Meanwhile, Nicole Gibson-Rice who works at a Mesa retirement home is frustrated. She signed up 19 senior citizens under one primary account using an email in the name of a resident at the home.
"You could do self or dependent so I put them all as dependents to get the shot," she explained. Those senior citizens are now eligible on Tuesday for a second shot.
Gibson-Rice says she talked to a county official and each resident is required to register with their own email, but explained that residents who range from 80-95 years old aren't tech-savvy.
"I should be able to go in and make appointments for them and I can't and I'm not a programmer. I don't know anything about code. I don't know how they program this, but it just seems really inefficient that the only person who can get a shot who is not eligible right now for her second shot," Gibson-Rice said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated recommendations saying you can get your second dose six weeks after the first shot.
Maricopa County Public Health is asking anyone who got their first dose before Jan. 21 to contact them as soon as possible if you haven't gotten an email invite or can't access appointments at all for your second dose.
For more information about obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona, visit this link.