Video taken by a volunteer at a vaccination site over the weekend shows a low turnout for healthcare workers receiving the COVID-19 vaccine outside the Phoenix Metro area.
Phil Lapointe was a volunteer at the Abrazo West vaccination site in Goodyear on Sunday, where he expected a busy day, “I was anticipating it to be pretty chaotic, having people, cars one ofter another, coming in all day long, but it’s just not what I saw.”
Maricopa County runs the vaccine distribution sites and they have five locations across the county based on geographical regions, “To maximize resources and ensure equity in reaching healthcare workers throughout the county, Maricopa County is partnering with local hospital systems and municipalities to operate five Point of Dispensing (POD) sites across the region for distribution of the first phase of the vaccine, primarily to health care workers, including EMS. These will not be open to the public. Vaccinations will be by appointment only,” the website states.
Lapointe said while he was at the location they started with eight drive-thru lanes before sending workers home and reducing it to two, “the busiest I saw was probably, the two lanes at the end of the day that were open were maybe four cars in each lane, but throughout the day mostly it was just a few cars total at any given time.”
A spokesperson for Maricopa County Health Department tells ABC15 that they knew this location would have fewer people to vaccinate in 1A.
In a statement, the county said, “Abrazo hosts our location in the southwest region, which has the smallest number of healthcare workers of the five regions. We knew that they would have lower numbers overall, and we are not surprised by lower turnout for appointments over a holiday weekend.”
Despite the low turnout, the county said there were no issues over the weekend, “While there were initially some hiccups in the state registration system that is being used to set appointments at that location, those technical issues have been resolved. We continue to send appointment invitations to people who are eligible in Phase 1A and to work with our partners in healthcare to encourage eligible individuals to pre-screen and get vaccinated.”
However, Maricopa County would not say how many people have been vaccinated at this location, instead referring to a dashboard by the county that shows nearly 25,000 healthcare workers in 1A have received the vaccine.
The county spokesperson said that they estimate there are 123,000 healthcare workers in 1A, and so far they have prescreened around 65,000 in Maricopa County.
As for the Goodyear location, ABC15 is told that workers are thawing the amount of vaccines based on the number of appointments that are scheduled.