Arizona health care workers brace for coronavirus vaccine
PHOENIX — Health care workers in Arizona are bracing to be at the front of the line when the first coronavirus vaccine becomes available.
Staff members at the Hatfield Medical Group, which provides primary care services mainly to Medicare patients in the East Valley, are among those eagerly awaiting for that day.
Dr. David Hatfield, chief medical officer with Hatfield Medical Group, said he and several staff members have already contracted the virus, which has created staffing challenges.
“We have had to deal with short-staffed, minimally-staffed clinics to continue to try to work on the front line and help our patients,” he said.
Arizona is expected to receive the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses in mid to late December, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said at a press conference Wednesday.
Health care workers will be prioritized for distribution, along with teachers, residents of long-term care facilities and vulnerable populations.
Hospitals across the state are ready to help distribute the vaccine.
Banner Health, the state’s largest hospital network, will initially have three distribution sites set up throughout the state.
There are also plans to eventually have the Arizona State Fairgrounds, where Banner Health currently provides drive-thru COVID-19 testing and flu shots, be one of the sites where COVID-19 vaccines are distributed.
Hatfield said he’s looking forward to the rollout of the vaccine so no more staff members contract the virus.
“We need all hands on deck,” he said. “We still have to see patients in our clinics because despite this COVID-19 pandemic, there are many other conditions that folks still need to have managed and treated.”