Some Arizonans find it difficult to get COVID-19 vaccine

While officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services say the state is vaccinating more and more people against COVID-19, some Arizonans say getting vaccinated remains a difficult task.

Officials tout vaccination progress

In a statement released on Jan. 14, AZDHS officials say the state has administered a total of 217,716 COVID-19 vaccine doses to 186,779 Arizonans, which includes 21,612 people who have received both doses.

"With 602,625 vaccine doses ordered so far in Arizona, that means 36% of the state’s allocation to date has been administered," read a portion of the statement.

In the same statement, officials say the vaccination site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, which opened on Jan. 11, has administered about 16,200 doses as of the afternoon of Jan. 14.

MORE: How to sign up and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Earlier on Jan. 14, state officials say a vaccination site will be launched in the East Valley on Feb. 1 to further expand appointment availability. Meanwhile, people can register for appointments at a new vaccination location at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Jan. 19.

Some Arizonans still struggling to get vaccinated

While more vaccination sites are being opened up in Arizona, the major vaccination sites across Maricopa County are remain booked up. That is causing problems for some Arizonans, like Jim Beaudette.

Beaudette reached out for help after getting nowhere with the online vaccine signups, and he needs to be vaccinated soon.

"I have to get major surgery, and my surgeon wants me to get a vaccine before I get it because I’m going to be immune-compromised after," said Beaudette. "I’ve tried calling 211, and they put you on hold to the point where they say leave a message, they’ll call back. Nobody’s called back."

Signing up for the vaccine is also difficult for the older portion of the population, like Anita Smith.

"We’re the group that’s dying off the easiest, and then, we are the group that has the hardest time getting appointments for the vaccine. It just doesn’t make sense," said Anita. She and Darrell Smith are 81 years old.

Both Anita and Darrell say the process of signing up for the vaccine is anything but easy.

"Been trying to get a site that offered any kind of daytime appointment, which right now is impossible," said Anita.

The couple settled on a 4:30 a.m. appointment at State Farm Stadium, which is more than an hour away from their home in South Gilbert.

"We’re gonna try it, but it’s no fun because basically at this age, we can’t see too well in the dark," said Anita, "We’re gonna try it 'cause that’s the only choice we have."

Others in the senior community Anita and Darrell live in don't have a computer, let alone a car to drive them all the way to the stadium.

Some counties not ready to vaccinate those 65-74

At the state level, appointments for those 65 and over are set to be accepted, but in Maricopa County, they are not ready to do that.

"This whole function is limited by the amount of vaccine being shipped into the state," said Maricopa County Communications Director Fields Moseley.

AZDHS officials react to vaccine woes

AZDHS Director Dr. Cara Christ says they are continuing to work on it.

"It has been a work in progress. We continue to improve," said Dr. Christ. "We do know our counties really have the authority to make decisions in their local jurisdictions. The Governor was emphatic that he wanted those over 65 to be eligible and to be available when those counties were ready to vaccinate those individuals."


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COVID-19 symptoms

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.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)