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Christ says weather delays unlikely to slow Arizona vaccine progress

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s top public health official doesn’t expect this week’s weather delays to have a significant impact on the state’s vaccination progress.

Dr. Cara Christ, director for the Arizona Department of Health Services, said Friday that the state’s timeline for moving to next vaccine phases shouldn’t be heavily affected by storms that have rocked much of the U.S.

“The weather may play a role and keeping in mind some counties may not be able to move into the next phase of vaccinations beginning mid-March,” Christ said during a press conference. “Hopefully we’ll by able to go back and vaccinate all of the people that we had to reschedule and can stay on track.”

“But right now we are administering 250,000 to 300,000 doses per week and so that is a pretty good progression and hopefully we can still stay on track for that.”

All of Arizona’s weekly allotment of Moderna doses — about 89,000 — were delayed. Some doses, according to Christ, won’t arrive to their destination until Monday.

The Moderna vaccine mostly serves rural communities in the state since the Pfizer vaccine requires special storage requirements.

The state was able to re-allocate some of its Pfizer doses in Maricopa and Pima counties to avoid having to postpone appointments, according to Christ.

Some vaccine appointments in counties that use Moderna were postponed.

All but one of Arizona’s 15 counties are in either the priority or general 1B phase. Gila County has progressed to the 1C phase but has accounted for less than 1% of the almost 1.4 million shots administered in the state so far.

“I think we have really good demand and I think like there are places that have the capacity but haven’t had the supply to you know, get up to that capacity,” Christ said.

“That is going to be less in our rural counties and so trying to catch up may take a little bit but overall I’m not concerned because they should have that vaccine at the beginning of next week.”

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