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First set of COVID-19 vaccine appointments booked for residents 55+ in Arizona

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Posted at 2:42 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 18:20:09-05

PHOENIX — Thousands of COVID-19 vaccination appointments that opened up at noon on Tuesday for Arizona residents 55 and older were booked within two hours, state health officials confirmed.

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced Monday that they were opening up vaccinations to more people in our state, with those 55 and older eligible to make an appointment at State Farm Stadium and Phoenix Municipal Stadium starting Tuesday. According to ADHS, 50,000 appointments were being made available on Tuesday.

Despite troubles reported during the booking process, the appointments were all spoken for by 2 p.m.

As of Tuesday, adults 55 nnd older were made eligible at all Maricopa County sites.

ADHS says it plans to continue its age-based approach to protect those most at risk, and is including Arizonans 55 and up alongside front-line essential workers in its latest expansion in the Phoenix Metro area. According to data from the state, 90% of COVID-19 deaths and 65% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona are those aged 55 and older.

SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Arizona

“This critical update provides more clarity for Arizonans and will result in rapid administration of vaccine to our most vulnerable populations,” said Governor Ducey in a statement. “Continuing to vaccinate older Arizonans against COVID-19 will help protect those at risk and cover a majority of Arizonans with chronic medical conditions. And, this hybrid approach will ensure an equitable distribution of vaccine to our front line workers who are working with the public every day.”

Officials said Monday that the new vaccinations could be scheduled at pharmacies and federally qualified health centers that are in participation with the federal vaccination programs.

State officials say with opening the age group up to those 55 and older, the vaccine prioritization category will include between 56-66% of Arizonans with high-risk medical conditions.

ADHS says they will move to the next age category, people 45 and older, when they have at least 55% of those eligible vaccinated or when they feel there is no longer a demand.

RELATED: ADHS adds 'eligibility checker' online for COVID-19 vaccine

Data on the percentage of population vaccinated in by age category will be added to the AZDHS website, officials say. It is unclear when this data will appear.

“As more vaccine reaches Arizona, we will continue refining our plan to maximize the benefits of this still-limited resource,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ in statement. “Moving to a hybrid approach will allow us to rapidly and efficiently administer the vaccine and provide all Arizonans with a clearer estimate of when they will be eligible to be vaccinated.”

For more information or to schedule a vaccine appointment, click here.