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How will vaccines be allocated in Pima County with the new state-run site?

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TUCSON (KVOA) - With the first state-run southern Arizona COVID-19 vaccine site opening at the University of Arizona, the goal is to eventually ramp up to 6,000 shots delivered each day.

Arizona health director Dr. Cara Christ says this partnership with UArizona will expand the capacity and hours of the site, with the possibility of becoming a 24/7 operation.

Christ said the university's operation has a proven record of success and combining their efforts with the state is another step towards keeping Arizonans safe.

But the county is concerned the state-run site will take doses from the county vaccination locations.

To date, 1,339,829 doses of vaccine have been given out to Arizonans and 332,071 thousand of those people have received their second shot.

The site at the UArizona Mall has been averaging around 1,000 doses per day.

UArizona President Robert Robbins believes they can eventually administer 6,000-8,000 per day with the state's partnership.

"This expansion builds on our success bring new vaccination capacity to southern Arizona in a continued partnership with the county and now the state," said Robbins.

But do more doses at one location help if they are taken away from other Pima County sites?

That's the concern the Pima County Health Department has.

This week the county received the lowest number of vaccines in a month at 16,330.

"We want to be in a situation where everybody is vaccinating to the maximum extent possible, we're not there yet because of the supply-side issues and I don't know that this makes our life any easier to manage," said Pima County Health Departments Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francisco Garcia.

According to the state health department website, vaccine distribution is allocated to counties relative to their population of the state.

Currently, Pima County as a whole is given 14 percent of the weekly state doses.

Weather permitting, this week the total number of shots expected in Pima County is 24,180. 16,330 of those will go to the health department.

2,000 will go to the university while another 5,850 goes to Banner and TMC.

Dr. Cara Christ says that as the university's ability to administer more vaccines rises they won't short-change other county locations.

"We wouldn't be pulling additional vaccine. It would stay relatively stable until we got more and then we would re-look at the allocation and then as we get more hopefully then it wouldn't impact the counties quite as much," said Christ.

News 4 Tucson will continue to monitor how the vaccines are distributed in the county with the new state-run site.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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