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  • Pima County welcomes state to vaccination effort in Pima County

    Feb 10, 2021 | Read More News
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    UA walkup vaccination clinicPima County is thrilled to learn the state Department of Emergency and Military Affairs will be expanding a County vaccination site at the University of Arizona, increasing vaccine delivery capacity in the County and in Southern Arizona.

    Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey made the announcement today in a news release. DEMA will partner with the University of Arizona to expand the existing vaccination site, increasing capacity from about 1,000 vaccinations a day to possibly up to 6,000. Gov. Ducey said in his release the expansion of operations at the UA will begin Feb. 18 and the public can begin registering for appointments at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16.

    “The UA has been a wonderful partner with the County and the UA POD has been highly efficient, delivering more than 8,000 vaccines since it opened Jan. 20,” said Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson. “If this means there will be an increase in the number of vaccines coming to Pima County, then we will get more people vaccinated faster and get closer to bringing this terrible pandemic to end in Southern Arizona. And if that is the case, I heartily thank Gov. Ducey for this assistance.”

    Pima County operates five vaccination PODs in the County, reaching a record number of daily vaccinations last week with just under 9,000 people vaccinated Feb. 4. The UA POD contributed 1,000 vaccinations to the total that day. The County PODs have the capacity to do about 10,000 vaccinations a day with sufficient supply. More than 160,000 people have been vaccinated in Pima County since the County started its vaccination effort Dec. 14.

    Under the County’s Accelerated Vaccination Plan, the County Health Department wants to have 300,000 people vaccinated by the end of March.

    “We’re well ahead of that pace so far and with more vaccine and more capacity at the State’s POD at the UA, we could get there by the beginning of March instead of the end,” said Health Department Director Dr. Theresa Cullen.

    The current pace of vaccinations in the County also means the County may open its 1B vaccination priority to include people between the ages of 65 and 69 early next week if the vaccine supply is available. The current priority restricts vaccinations to people age 70 and over, along with educators and people employed in protective services.

    County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry welcomed the Governor’s news accepting the County’s invitation to set up a state-run POD in Pima County. The County Administrator sent Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ a letter Jan. 26 welcoming state assistance in the County’s vaccination efforts.

    “My primary reservation about today’s news is that the expanded University of Arizona vaccination center also includes expanded vaccine supply,” Huckelberry said. “We have been very successful with our vaccine delivery in Pima County and we have about 130,000 people who will need their second dose of vaccine over the next four weeks, and that’s on top of the need to continue to deliver thousands of first doses a day so we continue to make progress stopping the spread of the virus.”

    “Additionally, while the county’s large vaccination centers have been very efficient at delivering vaccines to people who have the resources and wherewithal to sign up for them, we need to make sure we’re being equitable and vaccinating people with transportation difficulties or who are homebound, or who don’t have the technology needed to get appointments. We don’t want them to get left behind. I caution everyone that without increased vaccine to operate this expanded POD and to maintain current County vaccinations efforts, vaccinating vulnerable and disadvantaged populations will be more difficult,” Huckelberry said.

    Visit the state Department of Health Services vaccine webpage for more information about the expanded University of Arizona POD. Those without computer access or needing extra help registering can call 1-844-542-8201 for assistance.