Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, gives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to ASU Professor Alexandra Navrotsky, of the School of Molecular Sciences, Monday, January 11, 2021, at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale. Beginning Tuesday, the AzDHS will run a 24-hour on-sight vaccination site there for those with a Phase1A or 1B designation who register in advance. (Photo by Charlie Leight, Arizona State University)
Ducey takes steps to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine distribution
Governor Doug Ducey today issued an advisory to accelerate the statewide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and move doses of vaccine to where they can be rapidly administered to the Arizonans.
“The COVID-19 vaccination is our best shot at returning to life as it should be. Over the last two weeks, the COVID-19 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium has become a national model for vaccine administration,” said Governor Ducey. “With adequate vaccine doses, we can build on this success, both at our existing vaccination sites, and at additional sites across the state. This advisory will provide transparency in the pace of vaccination administration, and allow us to direct vaccine doses to where they will be most rapidly distributed.”
The advisory requires healthcare providers and local health agencies who administer the COVID-19 vaccine to report data to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) indicating the pace of vaccination distribution. It also allows the state to reallocate vaccination doses to where they will be most rapidly distributed and extends the requirement for hospitals, testing laboratories, and other health care facilities to report detailed information about COVID-19.
“We’re waging a heroic effort to get the COVID-19 vaccine distributed, and it’s been a real team effort,” Governor Ducey said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the partnerships we’ve formed with the Arizona Cardinals, Walgreens, Arizona State University, the Ivy Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, and American Medical Response. We owe a debt of gratitude to each of these organizations, and to all the healthcare workers on the frontlines.”
“Now,” Governor Ducey added, “our federal partners need to do their part. They need to prioritize quicker distribution of the vaccine to the states, so we can get the vaccine out of freezers, off of shelves, and into the arms of Arizonans.”
Today’s announcement builds on the success of the COVID-19 Vaccination Site at State Farm Stadium launched on Jan. 11. The site, administered by the State of Arizona and operated by ADHS and community partners, has dramatically expanded access and accelerated the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In total, 486,338 vaccinations have been administered statewide. Local health agencies and healthcare providers have administered 407,757 doses of the vaccine to Arizonans since Dec. 16, at an average rate of 9,708 vaccines per day statewide. ADHS has administered 79,112 doses since Jan. 11 at an average rate of 5,247 per day, at just one site. ADHS will launch a second site on Feb. 1, at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium near Tempe.
Both ADHS-operated sites are capable of administering 6,000-12,000 vaccinations per day, but with limited vaccine doses available, the sites are operating at partial capacity. Last week, the federal government denied a request by ADHS to allocate 300,000 additional vaccine doses per week to Arizona. As a result, the Phoenix Municipal Stadium will launch with just 500 appointments scheduled per day.
The advisory issued today provides better insight into the pace of vaccine distribution by local health agencies and healthcare providers. Current data indicates some providers reporting as much as 100% of their vaccine doses yet to be administered. This order will require local health agencies and healthcare providers to report their plans to administer unused doses and allow ADHS to redirect unused vaccine doses and accelerate delivery across the state. As additional vaccine doses are secured, ADHS aims to expand its vaccination sites in northern, central, and western regions.
Previous Actions on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
• On Nov. 18, Governor Ducey signed an Enhanced Surveillance Advisory ensuring up-to-date data on COVID-19 vaccinations.
• On Dec. 2, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order mandating the COVID-19 vaccine be made available for free, ensuring all Arizonans receive the vaccine without financial barriers. The Governor also announced that the state’s vaccination plan would prioritize health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, teachers and vulnerable populations.
• Arizona received the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses on Dec. 14. The distribution of the vaccine began in the state’s largest population centers, Maricopa and Pima counties.
• On Dec. 16, Governor Ducey announced 10 Arizona healthcare frontline workers would be among the first Arizonans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
• On Dec. 27, ADHS announced that Arizonans 75 and older would be prioritized to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the second phase of distribution following a recommendation by a panel of state, local, and tribal public health experts.
• On Dec. 30, Governor Ducey directed ADHS to implement a state-directed allocation model to ensure a uniform approach to the vaccination of high-risk and high-priority Arizonans.
• On Jan. 8, Governor Ducey and ADHS announced that the state would open a 24/7 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale to dramatically expand the availability of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The site is a collaborative effort operated in partnership with and support by ADHS, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the Arizona Cardinals.
• On Jan. 13, ADHS announced that Arizonans 65 and older would be prioritized to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the second phase of distribution following a recommendation by a panel of state, local, and tribal public health experts.
• On Jan. 16, Governor Ducey and ADHS announced the launch of the second state-operated vaccinate site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The site will begin operations on Feb. 1.