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Gov. Ducey sure Arizona can ‘vaccinate our way out of’ COVID pandemic

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday between the large-venue locations and more shot availability to come, Arizona would be able to vaccinate its way out of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The vaccination is our only solution,” Ducey said on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

“It’s the first solution that has presented itself since Jan. 27 (2020) when we saw the first case and Arizona is doing it right now as good as any state in the nation and we’re going to keep it up,” he said, hours after the state announced it was opening Phoenix Municipal Stadium next month as another mass-vaccination site.

Registration for appointments begin Tuesday at 9 a.m. The first shots at the site will be dispensed Feb. 1.

“We will be able to vaccinate our way out of this,” Ducey said.

State Farm Stadium in Glendale began operating as a 24/7 mega site for vaccine distribution Tuesday and administers 6,000 shots per day. That will double once more vaccine is available. He added vaccines will eventually be obtainable at pharmacies, urgent care centers and “at your doctor.”

“We’re getting them out as quickly as they’re coming in. … I’m pressing really hard on the administration and private sector to get us more vaccines,” he said.

Researcher Dr. Joe Gerald with the University of Arizona COVID-19 Modeling Team said earlier this week that he didn’t think the state would be able to “vaccinate our way out of this problem given how bad we’re doing it right now.”

On Wednesday, during a joint press conference, Arizona hospital leaders said their facilities are teetering on the brink of having to ration life-saving care.

“During triage … it does mean that we might have to make very difficult decisions about what type of care would be be available for a patient,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel of Banner Health. “We hope we do not get there. We’re asking you, we’re imploring you today to help us avoid that.”

The chief clinical officers of Arizona’s five biggest hospital systems also renewed a call for Ducey to enact a statewide mask mandate and other mitigation measures “based on science and data.”

Arizona reported 7,311 new coronavirus cases and 182 more deaths Thursday. The state’s documented totals moved to 649,040 COVID-19 infections and 10,855 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ dashboard.

As of Wednesday, Arizona was No. 1 nationally for both cases and deaths per capita over the last seven days, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

“Right now at this time, just as we said, we have a second wave,” Ducey said. “We’ve had more cases in December, more hospitalizations in January.

“This, too, shall pass.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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