Rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine differs along rural-urban lines

Rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine differs along rural-urban lines

As the state of Arizona is quickly expanding its drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination sites in Maricopa County, some outlying counties are struggling with logistical challenges and an unreliable supply.

Nearly 150,800 vaccines have been administered at the two state-operated sites — State Farm Stadium in Glendale, which opened Jan. 11, and Phoenix Municipal Stadium, which just opened Feb. 1. That’s in addition to the 344,149 vaccinations administered at Maricopa County sites. 

At the same time, officials in several outlying counties are struggling with a low and inconsistent supply of vaccine. They are having trouble planning ahead.

In Cochise County this week, officials were able to offer just 100 first-dose appointments because of a lower-than-expected allocation.

Some Cochise County residents are driving to the state-operated sites in Phoenix and Glendale, but that option “does insert some real inequities in access,” said Alicia Thompson, Cochise County’s health and social services director.

Last week Thompson said she felt sick to her stomach when she learned that the county’s entire allocation was 1,100 doses. She immediately set aside 1,000 for pre-booked second-dose appointments, which left just 100 first-dose appointments available.

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