First COVID shots in Maricopa County won’t slow hospitalization rates yet

Dec 10, 2020, 10:30 AM | Updated: 10:44 am
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Initial doses of the coronavirus vaccine in Phoenix won’t do much to stem the hospitalization capacity crisis, but they will keep front-line workers protected and the system rolling, Maricopa County’s top health official said.

“I don’t know that it’s going to [alleviate] much pressure from our hospitals, but as we get to expand and have more vaccine available, we are going to, hopefully, start seeing that exact effect,” county Public Health Director Marcy Flanagan said Thursday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“What it is going to help do, the initial shipments we start receiving this month, [is] help preserve our health care workers more than anything. … It’s going to help preserve our health care system,” she said.

Banner Health anticipated its hospitals will reach 120% capacity by Dec. 18.

The most populated county in Arizona is slated to receive 47,000 of the more than 380,000 doses arriving as soon as next week.

A U.S. government advisory panel convened Thursday to decide whether to endorse mass use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to help conquer the outbreak that has killed close to 300,000 Americans.

Depending on how fast the Food and Drug Administration signs off on the panel’s recommendation, shots could begin within days in the United States.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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First COVID shots in Maricopa County won’t slow hospitalization rates yet