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150K Arizona vaccine appointments for February snapped up in 1 day

A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the COVID-19 at a health center in Athens, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

PHOENIX – Nearly 150,000 Arizonans snagged February appointments for COVID-19 shots on Tuesday, filling every slot up for grabs in about 14 hours.

The appointments were for priority phase 1B first doses at the Arizona Department of Health Services’ two mass vaccination sites: the operation at State Farm Stadium in Glendale that has been running 24 hours a day since Jan. 11, and the Phoenix Municipal Stadium site that debuts Feb. 1.

Registration opened at 9 a.m. and wrapped up before 11 p.m., the department said.

The only vaccines approved for use in the U.S. require two shots for optimal effectiveness. Anyone who has already had their first shot will be notified by email to schedule their follow-up shot.

When more doses become available, more appointments will be offered.

“The only limitation to how much we can expand our capacity is the number of doses our federal partners make available to Arizona,” Health Director Dr. Cara Christ said in press release.

“When more vaccine is available, we will further ramp up our efforts and provide more appointments at the state’s two vaccination sites.”

Until then, authorities are prioritizing eligibility. For the two state-run stadium sites, appointments, when available, are limited to priority phase 1B — educators, child care workers, law enforcement personnel and people ages 65 and older – and phase 1A.

The phases and eligibility requirements vary at the county-run sites across the state. For example, Maricopa County’s distribution covers the same as the state’s except with the age cutoff set at 75.

Like with the state, Maricopa County’s on-hand vaccine supply is all spoken for. The five county-run points of dispensing are fully booked through the end of January, and February slots have not yet been offered.

The county also is partnering with eight Albertsons and Safeway pharmacies across metro Phoenix to administer a limited number of shots for adults 75 and older.

The latest information about availability through Maricopa County and its partners is posted on the county’s website.

The Arizona health department maintains a vaccine-finder page with a map of active locations across the state and information about how to register where doses are available.

On Wednesday, the department said around 320,000 doses had been administered in Arizona, including more than 44,000 second shots.

“Vaccine distribution is accelerating in Arizona, especially with the addition of the State Farm Stadium vaccination site,” Christ said in a release. “Late last week, we celebrated passing 200,000 doses administered and now we’ve surpassed 300,000.”

According to the state’s vaccine plan, phase 1A, which covers front-line health care and emergency workers and long-term care residents, included about 375,000 Arizonans.

The priority segment of phase 1B includes an estimated 1.5 million people.

The state hasn’t indicated how much of priority 1B needs to be vaccinated before it will let the essential workers and congregate settings segments of the phase become eligible.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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