by Terri Farneti, Yavapai County Asst. Director of Public Health
Since July Yavapai County Community Health Services has been at the table with the AZ Department of Health Services, the other 14 Counties and Tribal Health Entities working on the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. Plans have changed many times in that time and will most likely continue to change as more vaccines are approved. Even as you are reading this, plans will have evolved.
So far two vaccines have been approved by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorizations, from Pfizer and Moderna. Clinical trials must first show a vaccine is safe and effective before it can be authorized or approved for use. The known and potential benefits of a Covid-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine for use under an EUA.
At this point most of the Pfizer vaccine will be allocated to metropolitan areas; rural areas like ours will receive the Moderna vaccine, which is easier to store and has a longer shelf-life. Both vaccines require two doses that must be administered either 21 or 28 days apart to ensure full effect.
The state is working closely with county health departments to ensure an effective rollout.
The first doses are slated for the top-priority group, Priority 1A, which includes about 400,000 eligible Arizonans — professional healthcare workers, and long-term care residents and staff.
The state is working closely with county health departments to ensure an effective rollout. ADHS will be told each week how many doses to expect, and it will allot those by county, based on the percentage of county residents in a priority group. The counties will then tell the state how many doses to send and where, and the state will relay that information to the CDC distributor.
More than 1,000 provider locations in the state have started the onboarding process for vaccine distribution, and about 350 have been approved. Most sites will receive vaccine shipments directly.
Teachers and school staff lead the Priority 1B group, which also includes law enforcement, utility, grocery, transportation and food-service workers. We expect that this group will have access to the vaccine by early January.
Phase 1C is defined as people at high risk of contracting a severe case of Covid-19, including those 65 and older and adults in congregate settings, such as prisons.
The general population is Phase 2. The state expects to see enough doses of vaccine for the public by March or April, when mass-vaccination sites will help administer it.
The CDC has a list of things to know about the US Covid-19 Vaccination Program:
The safety of Covid-19 vaccines is the top priority.
Covid-19 vaccination will be a safer way to help build protection, and will help protect you from getting Covid-19. Two doses are needed.
Covid-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help, but stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. As experts learn more about how Covid-19 vaccination may help reduce spread of the disease in communities, the CDC will continue to update the recommendations to protect communities using the latest science.
The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering Covid-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals and federally qualified health centers.
After Covid-19 vaccination, you may have some side-effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. The side-effects from Covid-19 vaccination may feel like flu and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Side-effects could include pain or swelling at the shot location, fever, chills, fatigue or headache.