First batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrives for Phoenix area

Dec 14, 2020, 10:02 AM | Updated: 3:26 pm

PHOENIX — The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines for the Phoenix area arrived Monday morning, according to Maricopa County Public Health.

The county said in a press release that four boxes carrying about 18,000 doses were delivered to the Public Health facility and then taken to two points of distribution.

Officials in Maricopa County and Pima County, which also received shipments Monday, said vaccinations would being Thursday.

Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are set to be the first to receive the shots in Arizona.

Last week, Gov. Doug Ducey said Arizona is expected to receive more than 383,000 doses vaccine by the end of December. Each vaccination requires two doses, several weeks apart.

In the first week, Maricopa County was expected to receive 47,000 doses and Pima County around 11,000 doses, officials said.

Arizona will receive its largest vaccine shipment of the year next week and will spread them across the state.

“The arrival of the vaccine marks a significant moment in the fight against COVID-19 — but we aren’t out of the woods yet,” Ducey said in a press release. “We need to remain vigilant and continue to follow all recommended health and safety precautions.”

Shipments of frozen vials of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech began arriving at hospitals around the country Monday, and some people already have been vaccinated.

Packed in dry ice to stay at ultra-frozen temperatures, the first of nearly 3 million doses being shipped in staggered batches this week made their way by truck and by plane around the country Sunday from Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, factory. Once they arrive at distribution centers, each state directs where the doses go next.

More of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive each week.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Friday. Later this week, the FDA will decide whether to green light the world’s second rigorously studied COVID-19 vaccine, made by Moderna Inc.

Initial doses won’t do much to stem Arizona’s hospital capacity crunch, but they will keep front-line workers protected and the system rolling, Maricopa County’ Public Health Director Marcy Flanagan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News last week.

“It’s going to help preserve our health care system,” she said Thursday.

Arizona on Monday reported 11,795 new coronavirus cases, one additional death and a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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First batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrives for Phoenix area