News 11's Adonis Albright explains what you need to know about getting your COVID-19 vaccine moving forward
YUMA, Ariz, (KYMA, KECY) - The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) gave a press conference on Friday, announcing the closure of all mass vaccination POD sites across the state by June 28. Dr. Cara Christ, the AZDHS Director, highlighted the progress of Arizona's vaccine rollout with nearly half of Arizonans having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The POD site closures comes as Arizona is continuing to see a steady decline in the number of coronavirus cases over the past month, as well as a decrease in demand for the coronavirus vaccine. This includes Yuma County, where the number of reported cases has been steadily on the decline as the pace of vaccinations continues to slow down. On Wednesday, Yuma Regional Medical Center also reported a second consecutive day of zero hospitalizations from COVID-19.
Moving forward, vaccines will be available from health care providers, pharmacies, drug stores as well as long-term care facilities across the state. In the meantime, AZDHS says it is working closely with its local partners across Arizona to incentivize vaccinations and make them more accessible to underserved populations.
"Pima County has launched some successful initiatives including Vax After Dark, and then Yuma County has kicked off teen nights to increase access to vaccines during the evening hours and to reach populations that may not consider being vaccinated unless they’re approached", said Dr. Christ.
Currently, however Arizona ranks 39th in the U.S. when it comes to the number of vaccines administered, according to CDC data. When pressed about what could be playing a role in the lag in numbers, Dr. Christ said Arizona has a history of vaccine hesitancy.
"Historically, Arizona has had pockets of vaccine hesitancy even before COVID-19, so I think that that kind of set a baseline, we've been seeing declining vaccination rates in Arizona, so that may play a role in it. I think a lot of Arizonans are independent, they want to make these decisions on their own... I think that there's a number of factors that play a role in why we're slowing down."
The state-supported POD site at the Yuma Civic Center will be closing its doors on June 26, and the last day to get your first COVID-19 shot will be Saturday, June 5. To register for an appointment, click here.