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Pima County concerned after winter storms delay Arizona’s weekly vaccine supply

TUCSON (KVOA) - Amid statewide vaccine rationing, Pima County's vaccine efforts may have experienced another major obstacle after Arizona Department of Health Services reported that the extreme winter weather has caused delays in its COVID-19 vaccine this week.

Pima County saw a 40 percent cut in its allotment of the COVID-19 vaccine in early February, dropping from 29,000 to 17,895 doses in its weekly shipment.  The county continued seeing decreases in its supply throughout the month, receiving 16,300 doses last week.

Despite creating a new vaccine distribution priority plan, the county saw another roadblock in its distribution efforts after ADHS shared that the extreme winter weather "has delayed this week’s delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses to Arizona."

In response, ADHS has advised local health departments "to cancel appointments in the next two days."

With the 12,000 appointments completely booked for the first state-run facility at the University of Arizona, which is set to open on Thursday, Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima County's chief medical officer said in a press briefing Tuesday that the county has been tracking its supply very closely.

He said the limited supply has caused the department much concern.

"This is all about supply. This is what I worry at 3 a.m. when I wake up about - demand outstrips supply by a longshot," Garcia said. "We don't have a stash in a freezer we can pull out if that FedEx shipment doesn't make it into Pima County ... That problem will be solved by the feds. That will not be solved here, because ultimately, it is a supply side issue."

PCHD COVID-19 Briefing

WATCH LIVE: Dr. Francisco Garcia holds a press briefing after Pima County announced it will begin registering people 65 and up for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Posted by News 4 Tucson - KVOA on Tuesday, February 16, 2021

According to ADHS, the Grand Canyon State is believed to have enough Pfizer doses "available for state vaccination sites and other sites administering Pfizer to maintain operations without interruption."

The county also announced Tuesday that it will begin pre-registration for people 65 and older starting Thursday at 9 a.m.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations, visit webcms.pima.gov or call 520-222-0119.

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Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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