TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County plans to transition into Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out on Friday, January 15. Officials said they hope to vaccinate 300,000 people, at minimum, by March 31, 2021.
"Because of the work we have done, we believe we will be able to meet these numbers," Dr. Theresa Cullen, Pima County Health Department Director.
Phase 1B priority includes ages 75 and up, educators and protective service providers. 1B priority accounts for 150,000 Pima County Residents.
"We know there is a lot of anxiety and enthusiasm for folks to be vaccinated. We want to make sure we deliver a quality product into people's arms," said Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima County Chief Medical Officer.
Pima County plans to start vaccinating more people at faster rate. Officials hope to open the following four new vaccination sites in addition to current facilities at Tucson Medical Center and Banner North:
- Banner South/Kino Stadium
- Tucson Convention Center
- University of Arizona
- Rillito Racetrack
"We want to be in a situation where our inability to vaccinate is not based on our ability to be at the shot table. It's because of a lack of vaccines," said Cullen.
Pima County said the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is out of their hands.
"It is a huge problem on the supply side," said Garcia.
The supply of COVID-19 vaccines is controlled on the state and federal levels. Pima County officials said that will determine if they can meet their projected goals for Phase 1B and beyond.
"We can either wait for that problem to resolve and then develop a plan, or develop a plan now and, hopefully, provide compelling evidence to the feds and state that we should be the first in line to receive the vaccination when it starts being released," said Garcia.