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Tucson health care providers plan for roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations

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TUCSON (KVOA) - As many companies race to get out a COVID-19 vaccine, the state is planning ahead for when that vaccine is available and how it can be rolled out.

The Arizona Department of Health Services posted a draft of a COVID-19 vaccination plan, listing certain groups to be the first to get a vaccine. Groups that will be prioritized are health care workers and adults 65 and older.

Meanwhile, health care providers here in Tucson, like El Rio Health, are also preparing.

"So we are very excited when we finally get a vaccine and right now we currently have an influenza vaccination campaign underway in which we have stand-alone drive-thru vaccination clinics," El Rio Health Dr. Rajiv Modak said. "Where we can vaccinate 100's of people at a time. So what we plan to do is implement the same procedures that we do for our influenza vaccination clinic that we can apply to the COVID vaccination when they're available."

In ADHS's draft, health officials say they will work with county and tribal health departments in order to prioritize at-risk populations.

Here in Pima County, the health department is already meeting to discuss how they can roll out COVID vaccinations.

News 4 Tucson reached out to Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Theresa Cullen, who gave us the following statement:

"The Pima County Health Department is reviewing the plan provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services on October 20, 2020 closely to ensure that local planning efforts and resources align appropriately with the overall state plan. The Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccine planning task force has been meeting weekly for over a month to develop a plan for how distribution will work in Pima County.

This will be a continuing planning process and we expect it to change between now and when we start to see production of an eventual vaccine. Even when the vaccine becomes available, it is clear that we will all need to continue practicing prevention – the 3 W’s: Wash your hands, Wear a mask, and Wait for six feet."

Until a vaccine is released, health officials say to get your flu shot and remain vigilant.

"We are really looking forward to having a vaccine but the thing we can do right now is to socially distance and wear masks," Modak said.

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Denelle Confair

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