Maricopa County is taking a whole community approach as it prepares for the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have been developing detailed, multi-pronged plans in partnership with local hospital systems, fire departments, law enforcement, emergency management and other agencies across the County to prepare for a quick and efficient distribution of the vaccine as soon as it becomes available,” said Marcy Flanagan, director of Maricopa County Public Health Department.
At this time, vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna have applied for emergency use authorization (EUA); however, no vaccine has been granted either full or emergency use authorization. While there are still many unknown factors that could impact when and how much vaccine will become available; a vaccine could be approved and ready for distribution as early as mid-December.
Vaccine supply will be limited at first, so distribution will be prioritized according to CDC guidelines. The CDC has broadly defined the populations that are eligible in multiple tiers. Priority will be given to Phase 1A, which is comprised of frontline healthcare workers, including Emergency Medical Services, who are at the highest risk of exposure, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
“By vaccinating these frontline workers first, we are helping to ensure that our healthcare system will stay strong with needed staffing and in turn, our family members, friends, colleagues and others in our community will be able to receive the healthcare they need when they need it most.”
The first dose of the vaccine will be distributed at five regional Points of Dispensing (PODs) across the county in conjunction with Abrazo Health, Banner Health, Banner Del Web, Dignity Health and Honor Health over a distribution period of several weeks. The vaccine will require a second dose, which will be administered three to four weeks later.
“We have not received all of the details yet, but our plans by design are flexible and we will be ready to go when the vaccine arrives,” Flanagan said.