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State unveils COVID-19 vaccine plan

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PHOENIX (KVOA) - As the country waits for the FDA to give final to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Arizona health officials are prepping to receive the first set of doses by December 15. 

On Friday, The Arizona Department of Health Services outlined a plan to begin distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. 

State health director Dr. Cara Christ said more than 383,000 doses of the vaccine will be coming to Arizona over the next several weeks. 

Healthcare workers and Arizonans in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are set to the be first ones to be vaccinated. These individuals make up the group known as Priority 1A.

“Our expectation is that vaccine will be provided within 48 hours of it being received,” Christ said in an information session Friday morning. “We do know that some of these sites are going to be very large and need to be stood up."

Christ said the first doses of a two-part vaccine will be doled out in increments over the next few weeks.

After Arizonans get the first dose, the second dose will need to be administered three or four weeks later. 

The state is working closely with county health departments to ensure an effective rollout.

“So, the county health department are actually the backbone of this vaccine plan,” Christ said. “They’re really going to be the intelligence and the boots on the ground for determining where the vaccine goes in their local community.”

Teachers and school staff lead the Priority 1B group of essential workers.
along with utility, food, grocery and transportation workers.  

Christ hopes there will be enough supply by next spring to begin vaccinating much of the population. 

“It’s probably going to be like the summer or early fall before everybody who wants has had an opportunity to go get it and go get both doses,” she said.

Just how long immunity lasts remains a question so experts do not yet know how often the COVID-19 vaccine will need to to be given or if the vaccine will need a booster shot. 

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Eric Fink

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