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Pima County says short supplies stall vaccinations

Could give 100,000 a week---if it could get them
Posted at 6:58 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 20:58:48-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County says if it could just get more vaccine from the state, it could vaccinate many times more people than it’s vaccinating now.

The County’s Chief Medical Officer says he can’t even consider opening up vaccinations to new groups until vaccine supply improves.

Pima County says its vaccination sites have the ability to vaccinate many more people. Doctor Francisco Garcia says the county could give shots to a 100,000 people a week, but he expects only 29,000 doses in the next shipment from the state to supplement some vaccine still on hand.

“Right now, what is crashing our system is all this pent up demand, right? A lot of people it's the Hunger Games out there, a lot of people are really anxious to get vaccinated and I get it, and I beg their patience, but because, because at the end of the day, it would be unethical for us to create appointments to create schedules when we don't have vaccine.”

Doctor Garcia says the county still has to get through much more of the current group of education workers, public service employees and people aged 75 and older before he can even think about opening vaccinations to aged 65 and older.

The extra complication is the vaccines approved for use now require two shots a few weeks apart. Doctor Garcia says even with short supplies if you get shot number one, you can count on getting shot number two.

“We are planning for that second dose. We are actually giving people appointments in our systems we are giving people appointments for that second dose, it doesn't mean that we that we hide it away and we and we sequester it, but but but we are making provisions we have that number firmly in our brains every single day.”

And Doctor Garcia says next week’s vaccination appointments include many people returning for that second shot.