PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey is working to get more COVID-19 vaccinations to Arizonans.
In a letter Wednesday, Ducey called on the state’s congressional delegation to help meet the urgent need for additional supplies of the vaccine and secure funding for its distribution.
“There could be no better use of your time or advocacy efforts than in helping to secure these vaccine doses for the people of Arizona to help end this pandemic for good,” Ducey wrote to the seven Democrats and four Republicans who represent Arizona in Washington.
The State of Arizona recently requested an additional 300,000 doses of the life-saving vaccine, and an additional 300,000 doses a week. The request was denied.
Arizona’s state-run 24/7 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium, which opened on January 11, administers approximately 6,000 vaccines per day.
On February 1, the state opened its second site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium but can only administer 500 doses per day because of limited supplies.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Member of Arizona’s Congressional Delegation,
We are extremely grateful for the success of Operation Warp Speed in developing at least two safe and effective COVID vaccines in record time. It is a remarkable milestone and is only part of the key to ending this pandemic. As you know, the vaccine is only effective once it is administered to Americans. Arizona has been working diligently to administer the vaccine to key priority groups including healthcare workers, residents of long term care facilities, individuals aged 65 and over, teachers, and law enforcement personnel.
Because Arizona is a home rule state, the jurisdiction and responsibility for vaccine administration lies with our 15 counties. Some counties have been doing an exemplary job while others have lagged behind. For this reason, I issued Executive Orders 2020-62 and 2021-01 with the goal of scaling up vaccination by opening state run sites to augment the work being done by the counties and ensuring efficient use of the vaccine that has already been allocated to Arizona. The first state run site at State Farm Arena is now the most productive, high throughput site in Arizona, administering 6,000+ vaccinations per day. On February 1, 2021, we opened a second state run vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, and we hope to open more sites like these across the state.
The demand for vaccination at these sites is extremely high. All appointments for first doses of the vaccine in the month of February at these state sites were taken within 13 hours of the appointments being made available to the public. As you well know, our state is home to many out-of-state residents during our beautiful winter months, leading to an even higher need for more vaccines. We want everyone in Arizona who wants a vaccine, to have the opportunity to get one. Unfortunately, due to the state’s current allocation of vaccines from our federal partners, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, which has the capacity to match State Farm Stadium in terms of number of daily doses, will only open with 500 appointments a day rather than the 6,000 it could handle.
The single biggest limiting factor for opening more appointments at existing sites and creating new mass vaccination sites around the state is the number of vaccine doses allocated to Arizona by our federal partners. We have placed a federal resource request for an additional 300,000 vaccines immediately followed by 300,000 additional doses a week. We are confident that such an allocation increase would allow the state to replicate our successful mass vaccination sites throughout the state. Our resource request, however, has been denied.
I am writing today to request the Arizona Congressional delegation engage at every level to help secure additional COVID vaccine doses for the State of Arizona. There could be no better use of your time or advocacy efforts than in helping to secure these additional vaccine doses for the people of Arizona to help end this pandemic for good.
Additionally, as Congress contemplates further COVID relief measures, I urge you to place funding for vaccine distribution at the very top of the list. While we are grateful for the funding provided in the December relief package, mass vaccination sites, which have to be staffed with medical professionals, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. The state is looking to open several mass vaccination sites across the state, as well as smaller sites to target vulnerable and hard to reach populations so any additional funding that is provided, when done in conjunction with an increase in vaccine allocation, will help to expedite and sustain these efforts.
Thank you for your attention and consideration.