Healthcare workers get 2nd COVID-19 vaccine as Maricopa Co. prepares to vaccinate seniors, childcare workers

Maricopa County officials say residents eligible for the Phase 1B rollout of the coronavirus vaccine will be able to schedule appointments beginning Monday, Jan. 11.

This includes K-12 school staff and childcare workers, law enforcement and adults over the age of 75.

Healthcare workers who have yet to receive their vaccine during Phase 1A will still be able to schedule appointments, but will not be prioritized over other eligible residents once Phase 1B begins on Monday.

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

Officials say appointments will be available at sites that are not already fully booked for second doses to Phase 1A participants, and more will become available once they receive more vaccines.

"As operations are ramped up to support Phase 1B vaccination efforts, we anticipate more options for vaccination outside of POD sites will be available to prioritized groups soon," officials wrote on the Maricopa County website. "This may include vaccinations at pharmacies for those age 75 and older and employer-based vaccination events through private vendors."

Learn more about the Phase 1B rollout:

Teachers also eligible for vaccine

Teachers are among those next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Educators in Pinal County were among the first to be able to sign up for an appointment, and soon, educators in Maricopa County will be able to do the same.

Educators say they are excited and looking forward to getting the vaccine, which they consider a huge step in not only protecting themselves from the virus while in the classroom, but also a huge step in getting back to normal routines.

"To me, it’s the light at the end of the tunnel," said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. "I can’t wait for our educators to be able to get vaccinated so they feel safe to get back in the classroom and back in school as soon as possible.

"I live in Pinal County I wanted to sign up for their vaccinations but they filled up so fast," said Katie Nash, who teaches in Chandler. "We’ll probably crash the website where you can sign up, because that many people have been contacting us saying thank you for sharing the link, we’re so excited to sign up."

Nash estimates about 2/3rds of the teachers are planning to get vaccinated. Nash, who is a science teacher, says she knows they will still need to follow mitigation procedures, like wearing masks, even after getting the vaccine.

"But then, we can get back to the fun stuff of group work and labs," said Nash.

Healthcare workers getting 2nd vaccine dose

As of Jan. 6, 119,653 people in Arizona have received the vaccine, according to the Arizona Dept. of Health Services. Meanwhile, healthcare workers who received their first dose of vaccine are now getting another dose of the vaccine.

National Guard specialist Will Smith, who has served for five years, got his second COVID-19 vaccine dose 21 days after he became one of the first people in the state to get the first round.

"It means a lot of things. First and foremost patriotism, and a responsibility as a father," said Smith. He went on to say that this is a patriotic duty that will keep his family safe as well.

"I have a one-year-old. My wife is pregnant, so I want to make sure that I contribute to her health and my family’s health overall," said Smith.

Phoenix Fire Captain Kenny Overton said it was emotional for him to get his second vaccine dose, after his daughter was so excited when he got the first shot three weeks ago.

"It’s a step towards getting back to normal," said Cpt. Overton. "The story I told about my daughter when I first got vaccinated, it meant a lot to me as a parent. I want to get her back to being in school with her friends, back to a normal life."

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