PHOENIX — Maricopa County has announced they will be vaccinating more frontline essential workers like public transit, USPS and funeral home workers this weekend.
Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) will be working in partnership with Safeway/Albertsons and the Phoenix Union High School District to host a vaccination event with the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Those eligible for the vaccine are Valley Metro and City of Phoenix public transit workers, United States Postal Service workers, and funeral home workers. It is set to take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Cesar Chavez High School.
“If there is one positive thing that has come from this pandemic, it has been our amazing partnerships,” Marcy Flanagan, executive director of Maricopa County Public Health, said in a statement. “It is our honor to work with the amazing staff from Phoenix Union and Safeway/Albertsons to host this event for our frontline essential workers.”
Maricopa County is calling the need to protect them critical to their health and the prosperity of our community.
“Sometimes the customers need a little bit of help with routes and how to get to where they’re going and that’s kind of what we’re out here for,” said Valley Metro customer experience coordinator, Dawn McGuire.
On a daily basis, you’ll see Dawn walking the light rail platforms around the Valley, striking up conversations, offering a simple hello or even a comforting ear to more than a thousand riders every week in the midst of the pandemic.
“I’ve heard a lot from our passengers where their family members have struggled or passed away and it’s hard on them,” said McGuire.
It has been hard on her too. She has been worried about her own health and that of her family. On Friday, a big part of that worry will wash away.
“I don’t want to say it’s about time, but it is,” said McGuire.
Maricopa County's event will administer more than four thousand shots of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
“I’m off tomorrow and I get to go and get my shot, so I’ve been kind of bragging about it to my fellow co-workers to hopefully encourage them to go get it as well,” said McGuire.
The event is all part of an effort to get essential workers vaccinated as soon as possible.
While Maricopa County is setting up special events for those who fall in the essential frontline worker category, Coconino County has opened up eligibility to every essential worker in their area.
“From our perspective, they are the vary folks that have been providing services to all of us since day one,” said Kim Musselman, Health Director for Coconino County.
Musselman says new appointments are posted on the county's website every Friday at noon, and more than 20 health partners are now providing the vaccine to the community. This plan also allows them to capture another large population of at-risk residents.
“And if those essential workers happen to have underlying health conditions, then they’re being captured already in that essential worker category,” said Musselman.
Many fit within the essential workers' category, and their value is exhibited every day on the frontlines of our own lives. Now, they are getting the peace of mind they deserve.
PUHSD and Safeway/Albertson previously held eight successful two-day vaccination events that administered over 14,500 doses of vaccine for school and childcare staff in the region in January and February.
“We remain committed to playing a vital role in not just public education but public health,” said Dr. Chad Gestson, Superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District. “It has been a pleasure to partner with the County, the pharmacies, and local residents to bring the COVID1-19 vaccine to our community.”
The frontline workers defined by Arizona’s statewide Vaccine and Antiviral Prioritization Advisory Committee (VAPAC) are listed below:
- Food and agriculture
- Grocery store, convenience store, and carnicerias
- U.S. Postal Service
- Public transit
- State and local government
- Funeral homes (if not previously covered in 1A)
For public transit, USPS and funeral home workers who still require a registration link, please talk to your employer.