Wednesday, May 12, 2021
After the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization of Pfizer for children 12 to 15 on Monday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and CDC are expected to approve and recommend the use of Pfizer to vaccinate those 12 and older on Wednesday.
The Pfizer vaccine is currently available for those ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free ‒ and they’re our best shot to end this pandemic and return to the things we’ve missed. We’re moving quickly to empower parents and guardians to get this protection for their children,” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “Millions of Arizonans have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. Soon, kids ages 12 to 15 years old will now be eligible to get vaccinated and state vaccine sites are ready to serve them.”
Arizona has nearly 400,000 youths ages 12 to 15, about 5 percent of Arizona's population. As of Tuesday, 5,383,508 vaccines have been administered in Arizona, with 35% of Arizonans fully vaccinated.
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome these young people to state-run mass-vaccination sites starting Thursday,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ. “These safe, highly effective, and free vaccines are our best shot at returning to normal, and having more vaccinated individuals gives COVID-19 less of a chance of spreading.”
The University of Arizona POD, as a state site, will vaccinate children 12 to 15 and although it will close on June 25, they had factored the drop in vaccination age into their decommission plan, said Vice President of Communications Holly Jensen.
“We will continue to monitor the numbers, and are ready to adjust if necessary,” said Jensen.
Once CDC makes the recommendation, parents and guardians may bring those ages 12 to 15 to state vaccination sites starting Thursday. They must accompany the child and sign a consent form in person, which states that the child is at least 12 years old. No identification is required for the child and place of permanent residence is not a factor.
Parents and guardians also will be able to register those ages 12 to 15 for vaccination starting at 8 a.m. Thursday by visiting podvaccine.azdhs.gov or calling 844-542-8201 to be connected with someone who can assist in English or Spanish. However, appointments are no longer required for state-run sites.
Pharmacies and other providers with Pfizer, like CVS and Walgreens also plan to begin vaccinating those 12 and older as soon as the vaccine is approved.
“We’re fully prepared to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children ages 12-15 at thousands of CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide as soon as permitted,” said Sr. Communications Consultant for the Western Region, Monica Prinzing.
ADHS also worked with rural counties to identify pharmacies that offer the Pfizer vaccine and get them additional doses to accommodate the age expansion. More details here.
Mobile vax units at Wheeler Taft Library, Greyhound Park today
Meanwhile, Pima County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency launched mobile vaccination units to reach vulnerable communities with high risks of COVID-19 exposure and infection.
This includes two mobile vaccination units, able to administer 250 vaccines per day each, according to a county press release.
The units will run through June 26, operating at two concurrent locations for three days, with one day to tear down and move to the next location. The locations were selected based on census tract data and the Social Vulnerability Index of the area to identify highly vulnerable communities.
The sites will offer walk-up vaccinations of both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those 18 and older on a first-come, first-served basis. Patients return to the same mobile site after 28 days to receive their second dose, following CDC guidance. Help will be available to all who need assistance with mobility, language or other accommodations.
Here are the planned mobile clinics:
Tuesday, May 11 - Thursday, May 13
Wednesday, May 12
Thursday, May 13
Friday, May 14
At other vaccination sites, Pima County officials are shifting to indoors to avoid making staff and volunteers endure long days in triple-degree temperatures.
Tucson Medical Center has transferred its operations to the Udall Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road. The site is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Register at https://vaccine.tmcaz.com/MyChart/OpenScheduling.
Pima County has opened a new indoor vaccine site at the Kino Event Center, where the county had earlier been doing COVID testing. That site is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Register at azdhs.gov.
The county has also opened an indoor vaccination POD at El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
The drive-through POD at Banner-South Kino Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way, is now offering appointments between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. but will close permanently on May 14. Visit pima.gov/covid19vaccine for more details.
The UA vaccination point of distribution is now accepting anyone over the age of 16 who comes in for a shot.
The POD, which is scheduled to close at the end of June, offers a sit-down clinic in the Ina E. Gittings Building (1737 E. University Blvd.) from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
If you’d rather schedule an appointment, the state is expected to open new first-dose appointments daily at podvaccine.azdhs.gov. Call 602-542-1000 or 844-542-8201 for help in English or Spanish.
If you need help, call the COVID Ambassador Team hotline at 520-848-4045 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily or email email@example.com.
CVS pharmacies are now accepting same-day COVID-19 vaccination appointments, and at some locations no appointment is necessary.
About 190 locations in Arizona are taking walk-ins, but appointments are also available within an hour of scheduling.
Walgreens announced it would offer same-day appointments at locations across the country as of this week. Patients can schedule appointments up to 30 minutes before the desired appointment time.
While Walgreens continues to encourage appointments, a Walgreens corporate spokesperson said, walk-ins have and continue to be accepted “if a time slot is available,” across all 8,800 Walgreens stores offering vaccinations.
As of Tuesday, May 11, 416,709 people in Pima County had received at least one shot of the virus, accounting for 39.9% of the population. A total of 352,099 people were fully vaccinated.
Get tested: Pima County has free COVID testing
Pima County is continuing to offer a number of testing centers and pop-up testing sites around town, including the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road. Schedule an appointment at pima.gov/covid19testing.
The University of Arizona’s antibody testing can determine if you have had COVID and now have antibodies. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.
With 469 new cases reported today, the total number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases climbed toward 870,000 as of Wednesday, May 12, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Pima County, which today reduced its number of cases by 42 and deaths by 1, has seen 2,406 of the state’s 870,624 confirmed cases.
With 2 new deaths reported this morning, a total of 17,430 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 2,406 deaths in Pima County, according to the May 12 report.
A total of 599 coronavirus patients were in the hospital as of May 12. That’s roughly 12% of the number hospitalized at the peak of the winter surge, which reached 5,082 on Jan. 12. The summer peak was 3,517, which was set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent lowest number of hospitalized COVID patients was 468, set on Sept. 27, 2020.
A total of 1,001 people visited emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms on May 11. That number represents 43% of the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. That number had peaked during the summer wave at 2,008 on July 7, 2020; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28, 2020.
A total of 190 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on May 11, which roughly 16% of the record 1,183 ICU patients set on Jan. 11. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22, 2020.
—with additional reporting from Christina Duran, Jeff Gardner and Mike Truelsen