As Vaccination Rates Drop, Arizona Health Official Worries About Meeting Biden’s Standards

Dr. Cara Christ prepares resident for COVID-19 vaccination [Photo courtesy ADHS]

By B. Hamilton

As COVID-19 vaccination rates drop sharply in Arizona, health officials are pivoting away from mass-vaccination sites to more community outreach efforts which include relying on pharmacies, doctors’ offices, community events, and mobile pop-up events.

State-run vaccination sites have already started to phase out with changes to days and times of operations. Saturday, June 5, will be the last day individuals can receive the first dose and have a second dose scheduled at a state-operated vaccine site before the final site at Gila River Arena in Glendale officially closes Monday, June 28.

After June 5, the first doses will still be administered, but patients will be given information on alternate locations to receive second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is administered at these sites.

State-run vaccination sites have administered 1.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to nearly 900,000 individuals to date.

To date, 5,927,868 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 3,345,912 individuals, including 2,831,240 who are fully vaccinated. About 47% of Arizona’s total population has received at least one dose of vaccine, and 39% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

However, President Joe Biden insisted that 70% of the population had to be vaccinated for Americans to fully enjoy Independence Day. With Arizonans already acting fairly independently and enjoying the out-of-doors as well as shopping without the benefit of a mask or a vaccine, it is unlikely Arizona will meet Biden’s standard.

Still, Dr. Cara Christ, the Arizona Department of Health Services director, said in a briefing on Friday, “I am fearful with the decreased demand it’s going to be harder to reach that 70%, but I am hopeful Arizona will.”

Christ has promoted vaccinating children and teens even though there is no evidence that they are at serious risk from the disease.