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ADHS adds 'eligibility checker' online for COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 7:35 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 06:38:37-05

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services has added a new tool to its website, a vaccine eligibility checker.

The tool lets you enter your age group and has a select list of occupations to choose from to see if you’re eligible. The list of occupations includes grocery store workers, airline workers, bank tellers and many others.

ABC15 data guru Garrett Archer says the list of occupations seems to be limited to essential services, but AZDHS says this is not the final list of essential workers eligible in the Phase 1B category when state PODs and Maricopa County move into Phase 1B.

It is unclear whether this list is only for state-run sites or for the state as a whole.

One issue experts have pointed out is, in its current format, there is no ability to differentiate eligibility based on county.

That is a real problem because certain counties are in different phases and have slightly altered what groups they are prioritizing for the vaccine.

"We decided three or four weeks ago, to move [funeral workers] under healthcare workers, because we were concerned about the potential exposure to them," said Dr. Theresa Cullen, Pima County's Health Director. "So my concern about a site like this is there is not a place where I can enter my county to indicate whether there is a difference in the county's interpretation of who is eligible or not."

The lack of nuance could create more confusion, since all Pima County funeral workers, regardless of age, are eligible for the vaccine but would show up 'not eligible' if they looked at the 'checker.'

"And you also have a Gila County that is already in phase 1C, in which all of these [occupations] would be eligible and more," said Garrett Archer.

"In certain situations, it will have minimal impact, but in other situation, it would be great if it could be modified to make sure it reflects what the county is doing," said Dr. Cullen.

Like many COVID-19 related website pages, this is likely not the state's final version.

It is a start, and officials are hopeful it will allow people to more easily navigate the process and quickly get vaccinated.

"I think the state is trying to do the right thing here. I think it’s very important to try and make everyone aware of where they fit in the priority system," said Dr. Cullen.

The move comes as more and more locations begin to offer COVID-19 vaccines. CVS announced on Wednesday it is opening eight locations in Arizona to administer coronavirus vaccines starting Thursday.

The locations that are now open are located in Apache Junction, Chandler, Laveen, Phoenix, Surprise, Bullhead City, Tucson, and Yuma. Three locations were already booked as of late Wednesday, but CVS says they are working to expand as supply increases.

To use the vaccine eligibility checker, click here.