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Yuma County ranks 9th in Arizona for vaccine rollout, according to YRMC

13 On Your Side's April Hettinger explains how a shift in demand is affecting the vaccine administration

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Vaccine availability in Yuma County has gone up 160% in the last month, but Yuma County still ranks 9th in Arizona for the percentage of people vaccinated mainly because the demand has shifted.

This is why the Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is holding a seven day mass vaccination site.

It has been one month since the American Rescue Plan was put into place, but Yuma County is still falling short of vaccine administration as the hardest-hit county in Arizona for COVID-19.

Kristina McNair, director of continuous improvement and project management for YRMC says even though the county has been averaging 1,614 vaccines per day, the supply and demand are starting to equalize.

"We're seeing a downward trend and so we have quite a bit of appointment availability left over each day," McNair said. "We have, positively though, seen an increase in the number of walk-in patients coming in which is a good trend. We want to continue to see that; however, we do encourage people to try to create an appointment."

Will Humble, executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association (AZPHA) said it's now becoming more prevalent in the state.

"As Arizona gets more vaccine, and as the more motivated components or the more motivated people of Arizona have already been vaccinated, the supply and demand is beginning to shift," Humble explained.

Before the act was passed, only 620 people were getting the shot on a daily average.

All that's left is those who want it but are having trouble finding time or a way to get there.

"Bring the people to the vaccine. I argue that at this point, we need to be bringing the vaccine to the people," Humble stated. "That means allocating more of the state's supply to counties like Yuma so that they can run more county-based clinics on weekends, evenings, during the day, closer to people's homes."

The hospital has adapted to no-shows and unfulfilled appointments.

"We don't actually thaw any vaccine based on the appointments. We have seen that we actually have a pretty high no-show rate, and so because of that, even though we may have vaccines and we may have appointments, we actually only thaw out a percentage of our appointments for the day in the morning," McNair explained.

So far, they have not let any doses go to waste.

The pod is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and walk-ins are welcome until 3 p.m.

They are working to expand the clinic into the evening hours to accommodate those that work during the day.

YRMC is encouraging everyone to register for this mass vaccine clinic.

Local Coronavirus / Top Stories / Yuma County / Yuma County Coronavirus
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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. After a short 3 ½ years, she earned bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with minors in Journalism and Spanish but gained memories and friendships she will always remember.

She began her broadcast journalism career through NAZ Today, northern Arizona’s local news station, by covering breaking news, building relationships with the community, learning to produce a newscast and anchoring live. Although she will miss her snowy mountain town, she is excited to further her broadcast career and take on the heat in a great city like Yuma.

She is looking forward to floating down at the Colorado River, riding dirt bikes at the sand dunes, and most importantly, serving the community through local news.

You can send any story ideas her way by emailing april.hettinger@kecytv.com.

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