PHOENIX — In a tweet Monday afternoon, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said that he expects doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to be implemented in December.
According to Governor Ducey, the vaccine is expected to "hit the ground" in mid to late December.
AZ is working closely with health officials & private sector partners to ensure a quick & effective distribution of the #COVID19 vaccination. We’ve enrolled hundreds of providers who are ready to administer the vaccine, & we expect doses on the ground in mid to late December. 1/ pic.twitter.com/XAGtm1lAzM— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) November 23, 2020
In a Tuesday morning interview on KTAR, Ducey said vaccine priority would be given to health care workers, followed by essential workers like teachers. He said the general public could expect the vaccine in early 2021 -- likely January, February or March. Ducey also said, come summertime we could be back to a more normal way of life with the vaccine.
As part of their planning for the arrival of a vaccine, the state has enrolled "hundreds of providers" to prepare to administer the drug.
On Monday, AstraZeneca was the latest drug developer to announce results from its vaccine trial, saying its two-shot vaccine candidate has been 90% effective thus far along with no safety concerns.
The United States recently recorded 3 million new cases of COVID-19 so far in November.
“I really need to know how the supply is going to be for me,” said Dr. Janice Johnston.
Dr. Johnston is the director of Redirect Health, a medical group already approved to provide vaccines once they’re available.
“Are they going to be coming prepackaged where it’s already in the syringe ready to go, will they come in one dose vials, multi-dose vials that we need to draw up, we don’t really know,” said Dr. Johnston.
All of those details could impact her plan to get it to as many people as possible.
According to AZDHS, more than 500 providers throughout Arizona’s 15 counties have already applied to help deliver the vaccine.
“It may be a pharmacy in a particular area, it may be a clinic, it may be a health system or a physician's office depending on the situation,” said Kelly Fine.
Fine is the CEO of the Arizona Pharmacy Association. She says mass immunization events and larger hospitals will play the primary role in the first round of vaccinations called phase one. Those will go to health workers, first responders, long-term care facilities, and people over the age of 65.
“CVS and Walgreens, in particular, have been targeted to be able to provide long term care facilities a vaccine,” said Fine.
Phase two will see more of the general population get it next. Specifically, racial and ethnic minority groups, Native American populations, and rural communities. A group that makes up more than 4.6 million Arizonans.
“If there are gaps in care in any of these areas, we will partner with them, identify pharmacies that may be in the area that could receive vaccine so we don’t have any areas of the state that don’t have a vaccine,” said Fine.
Dr. Amish Shah, an emergency room doctor and state rep, says buy-in from some of those communities must also come from local leaders. A critical component to the success of the vaccine overall.
“As leaders, you have to step up and say this is important for your community, it’s important that your community sees somebody that is from within the community, that feels comfortable, that understands what’s going on,” said Dr. Shah.