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Tucson woman hits the road to get COVID-19 vaccination

Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 19:19:23-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucsonans are ready to get vaccinated, but the roll out of the vaccine is going much slower than anticipated.

Susan Via is a retired county prosecutor, now, calling Tucson home — she is desperate to get vaccinated.

"I donated a kidney to my husband who's now 84, and he has a severely compromised immune system because of the anti-rejection medications he takes. So, we've been super careful. I'm at risk for giving him COVID, of course if I catch it,” said Via.

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She’s a part of the 65 and older age range but her husband is part of the 75 and older age range. He was able to get vaccinated at Tucson Medical Center, but she still has to wait because Pima County isn’t giving shots to her age range yet.

So, she’s decided it’s time to hit the road and head to the State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

"In desperation, I signed up there but the only time I could get was late in the month of February [and it's] in the middle of the night. I have to drive two and a half hours each way at night to get vaccinated," said Via.

She said it makes her angry that she has to make the drive.

"And even angrier for elderly people that are worse off than me that can't get it,“ she added.

It’s a situation that Pima County Health Director Theresa Cullen said many people are in.

She said the county has advertised the State-run vaccine centers on its website because they don’t have enough vaccines to start vaccinating those 65 and older and there is high demand among the 75 and older age group. Dr. Cullen said she doesn’t anticipate vaccines for those 65 and older starting until a majority of 75 and older and educators have been vaccinated.

“I would say once we get to about 70 or 80,000 of them immunized and we see what we call the shoot the shoot kind of slow down, then we will open to 65 and over they are the next group,” explained Dr.Cullen.

Via wants to know why there isn’t enough vaccines.

"Prove to us that you have left no stone unturned to try to help out, elderly people in Pima County," urged Via.

Dr. Cullen explained vaccine allotment is beyond the county’s control.

"That occurs at the Federal and at the State level. We have shared our concerns about vaccine availability throughout the state with the Arizona Department of Health Services,” said. Dr. Cullen.