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With vaccine Phase 1B expanding, many Arizonans can't get appointment

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jan 17, 2021

PHOENIX — Concerns over available COVID-19 vaccines are growing in the Valley as at least 400,000 people become eligible for the vaccine this week.

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As of Sunday, 126,991 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Maricopa County. But county health officials are worried that there won't be enough vaccines to cover the next wave of eligible people.

"We’re not sure when we’ll have enough vaccine to include the additional 400,000 people in the 65 and over category," said Maricopa County Disease Control Division Medical Director Rebecca Sunnenshine during a press conference on Thursday.

"The reality is, there’s not enough vaccine right now to meet the demand," reported Maricopa County Public Health in their daily newsletter on Friday. "If you’re not able to find an appointment, that’s the primary reason why. We have allocated approximately 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Maricopa County. "To vaccinate everyone in Phases 1A and 1B, we would need an estimated one million doses."

One Valley woman said her dad still isn't vaccinated and can't even get an appointment.

"He called twice last week, was on hold for 65 minutes each time, then got hung up on," said Chandler resident Shawna Willis about her father, who lives in Cochise County and has been trying to schedule an appointment for a vaccine as part of the Phase 1B group of people 75 years and older. Willis said her father, David, is having a difficult time navigating the website as well.

Arizonans can call 2-1-1 to access Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 vaccine information and appointments, but when you call, as of Sunday, you hear the following update: "All appointments have currently been filled.”

"It says reserve a slot, and so you click on that and it says okay “reserve a spot” and it takes you to a blank page that says, 'Okay start the whole process over,'" said Willis. She said her parents even considered driving to Glendale to try and receive a vaccination at State Farm Stadium. Currently, there are no open vaccination appointments at State Farm Stadium, for the rest of the month.

On Tuesday, at 9 a.m., Phase 1B of the state's vaccine plan will expand to include people 65 years and older.

Right now, Phase 1B (Prioritized) allows people 75 years and older, law enforcement and K-12 School and Childcare workers to sign up for the vaccine.