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Pima County: First-dose vaccine appointments to be put on pause due to supply

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Posted at 3:22 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 17:32:21-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County says it's "pumping the brakes" on its accelerated vaccine plan following the state reducing its vaccine supply in recent weeks.

According to a news release sent to KGUN 9, last week, the state cut the county's vaccine allotment by 40 percent, resulting in first-dose appointments being limited.

“The lack of predictability and weekly fluctuations in vaccine supply has impacted our ability to commit to vaccination schedules that accommodate the needs of our community,” said County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.

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Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen said the reduced supply will still be enough to protect existing second-dose appointments, however.

“We were so successful in giving first-dose vaccinations when we opened the 1B priority in the middle of January that we now have more than 100,000 people who need their second shot over the next three to four weeks," Cullen said. "We need to follow through on our promise to them, so that means first dose appointments will be limited for a while, which really slows down our Accelerated Plan, unfortunately.”

Cullen says she expects these delays in appointments to be short-term, noting the approval of a single-dose vaccine being imminent.

“We are getting reports daily that vaccine production is being ramped up nationally and increased supply is on the way. Plus, the approval of a new single-dose vaccine is imminent. So I expect these difficulties will be short-term and we’ll be able to rev-up our Accelerated Plan soon and get people protected from this terrible disease,” Cullen said.

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The county was in the 1B priority phase at the time this article was written.