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  • County expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to frontline workers and those age 55 and older

    Mar 11, 2021 | Read More News
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    File: restaurant cookPIMA COUNTY March 11, 2021 – On March 12 at 9 a.m., Pima County will expand the current vaccine eligibility throughout the County to include Frontline Essential Workers and people age 55 and older. The change keeps the County aligned with the Arizona Department of Health Services’ hybrid vaccine distribution guidance.

    This expansion is the next step in getting more COVID-19 vaccines out into the community. Under the previous phase, those age 65 and older, healthcare workers, educators, and protective service workers were eligible to register. People are considered high risk front line essential workers if they work in-person, onsite AND in close proximity to the public - within 6 feet of other people such as the public or co-workers AND work in one of the following industries:

    • Food and Agriculture
    • Manufacturing
    • Grocery/Convenience Stores (and Carnicerias)
    • Restaurants/Bars
    • U.S. Postal Service
    • Public transit (buses, light rail, Uber, Lyft, taxis)
    • State and local government workers

    Members of these categories can begin registering March 12 at 9 a.m.

    Currently, most appointments set for the large County-supported vaccination sites will be for scheduling in April 2021. As the new phase opens to first doses, the County is trying to balance the need for more first dose appointments with the more than 100,000 people scheduled for second dose appointments over the next four weeks.

    “This is our biggest group of newly eligible people so far and we understand that people will be very eager to register for an appointment as this phase opens up,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, Health Department Director. “The challenge will be trying to get vaccine to the most vulnerable people in this group as so many register for their spot in line.”

    Despite the recent increase in vaccine supply coming into the County, Health Department officials believe that it may not be enough to keep up with the initial demand of adding such a large group. As more vaccine becomes available, eligibility will expand to others who fall into the essential worker category. The County will announce these expansions as appointments and vaccine supply allow.

    “We are excited to be pushing forward at such a rapid pace,” said Cullen. “We will need the community to be patient as this very large group of newly eligible individuals register, but this is a great sign that we are doing the right things.”

    Pima County is also working directly with utility companies to provide vaccine to staff identified as “critical” for utilities such as water, gas, and electric.

    “We realize that while some of these critical infrastructure employees will be covered in the frontline essential worker categories as local government workers, some others may not,” said Cullen. “We are working closely with those employers and vaccine partners to make sure we get them covered as this roll out happens.”

    As of March 10, more than 323,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Pima County, and 130,000 people have been fully vaccinated. The County has surpassed its goal of administering 300,000 doses by the end of March. Under the state’s new age and job-based priority system, counties can move to the next phase of vaccination when 55 percent of the people in the current phase have been vaccinated. Pima County passed 55 percent of the 65+ group earlier this week.

    For all of the registration options in Pima County or to get more information about who is currently eligible for an appointment, visit www.pima.gov/covid19vaccine

    To schedule and appointment at the State supported vaccination site, visit Arizona Department of Health Service portal to schedule an appointment, https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov/

    For questions about registration or help with the registration process, you can also call Pima County Health Department’s registration support line at 520-222-0119, Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.