Some local COVID vaccination sites are changing operating hours because of expected increasing temperatures.
Starting Saturday, the two sites - Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. 1st Avenue, and Curtis Park, 2110 W. Curtis Road - will operate 7 to 11 a.m. and 7 to 10 p.m.
The Tucson area is expected to reach temperatures higher than 105 degrees during the next several days and precautions are being taken to keep clients, workers and volunteers safe, according to a news release from Pima County.
Some area vaccination sites are still offering lottery tickets* as incentives for those who have not yet been vaccinated.
June 12 - 14
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
*Incentives being offered to those getting first doses of vaccine.
The FEMA mobile units are scheduled to continue through June 26, although future locations are being moved to air-conditioned indoor buildings. Check pima.gov/covid19vaccine for updates on the FEMA units and all vaccination sites.
Still haven't gotten your COVID vaccine? TMC hopes its vaccination party will convince you to finally get it done.
Tucson Medical Center and Pima County will host a free Vaccine Fiesta on Saturday for those 12 and older.
The party will offer entertainment, prizes, games and food for those who get their shots from 9 a.m. to noon at the Udall Park Vaccine Clinic, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road.
Walk-ins are welcome.
WASHINGTON – An employment program for veterans that began in the days after 9/11 paid off last year when the COVID-19 pandemic rattled employment for vets in the state and across the country, an advocate told House lawmakers Wednesday.
“Communities in Arizona are no different than communities across the United States. We have seen the significant impact of the pandemic on service members, veterans and their families,” said Thomas Winkel, director of the Arizona Coalition for Military Families.
What is different in Arizona, Winkel said, is that public and private organizations have been working together for years now to establish “a robust and sustainable effort to assist veterans with securing meaningful employment.”
Winkel was part of a panel testifying at a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on veteran employment during the pandemic.
Like all other sectors, veteran unemployment rose sharply in 2020 – although it continued to be lower than jobless for the general population nationally. But witnesses said there is still room for improvement in government programs that are supposed to help soldiers transition from military to civilian life.
Chris Thorne, co-chair of the Military Affairs Advisory Council at the North San Diego Business Chamber, said employers are eager to hire vets, but that too often the transition process “does not adequately prepare transitioning service members for what comes next.”
“To put it quite simply, transitioning service members are walking into a foreign culture that speaks different languages, acts different ways and values different outcomes,” Thorne said in his written testimony. It’s not enough to merely identify a job that requires a skill set learned in the military, he said.
If you get a COVID vaccination this weekend, you could win up to $10,000.
Pima County will give 100 lottery tickets at two vaccination sites from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. - May 29 at Westgate Shopping Center, 1785 W. Ajo Way, and May 31 at Pima Community College Desert Vista Campus, 5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz.
The 200 tickets, donated by The Arizona Lottery, have about a 1 in 4 chance of being winners, with a maximum prize of $10,000 and assorted smaller prizes.
Tickets will be given to the first 100 people age 21 and older getting the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or their first shot of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which require two doses.
The University of Arizona's COVID-19 vaccination site will change its operating hours beginning Tuesday. The site will close for good on June 25.
UA campus vaccination site to change hours next week, close for good June 25
The new hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. After June 6, the site will no longer offer first-dose shots.
Anyone 12 years old and older is eligible for a vaccine. Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, but no identification is required for either person.
As of Thursday, 442,004 people, about 42%, have received at least one vaccine shot in Pima County. Nearly 378,000 are fully vaccinated.
If you still need to get vaccinated, here are other locations:
The return of live music has been a vague hope for more than a year, but downtown’s Fox Theatre now has a date: Thursday, Aug. 19, will see country band The Mavericks take the Fox stage and kick off its 2021/22 live performance season.
“This is a bit of a teaser of what is to come for the season ahead,” says Fox Theatre executive director Bonnie Schock. “It is certain to be a fantastic return of music and performance to downtown in the fall – with something for everyone. So, get ready for exceptional country, jazz, blues, folk and Americana, classic rock, comedy, personalities, lifelong learning, family, and film experiences once again."
Other planned shows include swing revivalists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Saturday, Sept. 11; singer/songwriter Amy Grant on Sunday, Oct. 24; and Irish folk band Altan on Sunday, Nov. 21.
The Fox plans to announce next month a lineup of more than 50 shows booked through April, with tickets for the season available to the public starting Friday, June 18. Guests who purchase tickets to four or more shows in advance will receive a 10% discount.
For more information, visit foxtucson.com
Here are this week's vaccination sites in Pima County.
For more information, head to the Pima County COVID-19 information site.
If you know of other sites we've missed, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No appointment needed
Monday, May 23 - Tuesday, May 25
Monday, May 24
Thursday, May 27
Thursday, May 27 - Saturday, May 29
Saturday, May 29
Sunday, May 30
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
The Arizona Department of Health Services is asking health care providers, especially pediatricians, to prioritize vaccinations over the fear of vaccine wastage.
ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ said they had heard that some providers may be fearful of opening a bottle to pull out a couple of doses when they may not have to use the other doses on the same day. She said while they continue to minimize waste, it should not be at the expense of vaccinating someone.
“In the beginning when vaccine was in very, very short supply and we had high demand, we were very, very careful about using every single dose of vaccine,” said Christ. “If you do have to open a vial to extract just a couple of doses, take that opportunity, get that individual vaccinated because we don't want any missed opportunities for our providers. And while we do want to minimize vaccine wastage, getting people vaccinated and preventing hospitalization and death is very important.”
The state hopes more providers will register to become COVID-19 vaccinators and receive COVID-19 vaccine. To order vaccine, providers would need to become pandemic vaccine providers through the state or a federal program.
As of May 17, eligible health providers can order all types of COVID-19 vaccine directly from the CDC, without an allocation from their local health department, said Christ.
Previously, eligible providers could order only Moderna. With eligible providers able to request an allocation of Pfizer they would be able to administer the vaccine to children 12 to 15. More information on Pima County vaccination spots.
Christ said they anticipated that about 385,000 Arizonans became eligible for Pfizer after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s approval of the FDA’s emergency use authorization of Pfizer for children 12 to 15.
Editor’s Note: Cronkite News photographer Alberto Mariani spent several months documenting the work at Peace Chapel Funeral Home. This story contains images that some may find graphic.
PHOENIX – At 10 p.m. no words are spoken, but a loud buzz reverberates throughout Peace Chapel Funeral Home. It’s the rhythmic beat of an embalming machine pumping a mix of chemicals into a woman in her 50s.
Standing next to the body – working late again – is funeral director Ron Thornson.
Since March 2020, Thornson and his staff have routinely worked 14 to 16 hours a day, without much pause to reflect on the historic events swirling around them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like so many other people and businesses across the globe, these workers and this industry were hit hard by the pandemic in myriad ways.
An already trying job grew more stressful, with funeral home directors – often known as the “last responders” – left explaining to grieving customers why they couldn’t mourn in person or have big gatherings to say goodbye. Caseloads also surged as the COVID-19 death toll rose. To date, more than 580,000 people have perished in the U.S. alone.
The assumption, said Claude Robinson, Peace Chapel’s funeral coordinator, is that “death is inevitable with this profession” and that those who work in the industry are somehow immune to the effects of mass casualty events such as a pandemic.
The nature of the job demands that workers keep their emotions masked, Robinson said.
“You are almost taught not to break when you are to serve a family,” he said, explaining that revealing too much could transfer more pain onto those already suffering.
“A lot of people don’t understand that as a funeral service worker, you have a big task,” he added. “You are not just picking the body up, cleaning it, putting makeup on and placing it in a casket. You’re expected) to coach the family, to be a financial adviser and to be a psychologist” during one of the toughest moments in life.
And in a year when death became an excruciating daily experience for most Americans, even these men and women have been touched by it.
“It has affected us all, to a certain degree,” said Thornson. “But we’ve stood strong and supported one another.”
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average mortuary receives 113 calls a year, with larger funeral homes getting more. But the number of cases seen by funeral workers in 2020 far outpaced those in previous years.
The U.S. death rate increased 16% from 2019 to 2020, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the number of U.S. deaths exceeded 3 million for the first time in history.