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Offer Denied: Vail District tries to help speed up vaccinations for educators

Hybrid learning in Vail is set to begin on Monday
Vail district shot clinic
Posted at 11:53 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 08:07:25-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN)  — There were 60 vaccine shots given in an hour at Old Vail Middle School.

There are dozens of volunteers and Vail staff working alongside Rincon Fire crew and the United Community Health Center to give the vaccinations at no cost to Pima County.

It's a very convenient spot for educators in the district. Not to mention the mobile vaccine clinic is just yards away from the school.

"We are in hybrid learning on Monday again. For our staff to have at least one vaccine in their arm is huge if nothing more than a morale boost," said Vail Superintendent John Carruth.

But the vaccine site isn't for the Vail staff.

This shot clinic has been set up for the 75 and older population.

And Superintendent John Carruth is upset that his staff couldn't be included.

"Our ask is that we're simply allowed by the county to offer that same courtesy to the educators, who work in the building, who are watching the shot clinic happen," he explained.

He's made repeated pleas to the county and even just an hour before this interview.

Cavazos: After your discussion today any movement on your request?
Carruth: No. No. Politely told that if we'd like to do that we might be able to do that sometime in the future. Their priority is to get the UofA pod up and running.

That's the site Pima County is sending all educators to get vaccinated, which Carruth considers a hike for staff.

And there's another issue. PCHD told KGUN9 that the computer system is overwhelmed and that's causing delays in registration.

Vaccine delays for educators in Pima County

KGUN reached out to PCHD Director Dr. Theresa Cullen.

She explained why the county is not budging on Vail's request.

"We have been told by the state that the most important thing we can do is show high throughput of our vaccination areas. The points of large distribution where can do 700 to 2000 vaccinations," said Dr. Cullen.

She said everyone needs to be patient.
Carruth says he's patient -- to a degree.

"I'm fully aware the county is wrestling a logistical gorilla," said Carruth, "And I feel that we can offer help to them in wrestling that gorilla. I wish they would take us up on the offer to help."

Carruth explained he's been allotted 60 vaccinations and if he had also been given those doses, more staff could have received it in time for Monday's re-opening of the campuses.

Cullen told KGUN9 she expects the UofA POD to have 500+ appointments starting tomorrow.