ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona health department helping underserved populations get vaccine

Mar 9, 2021, 4:45 AM
(Courtesy photo/Arizona Department of Health Services)...
(Courtesy photo/Arizona Department of Health Services)
(Courtesy photo/Arizona Department of Health Services)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services has launched a program aimed at getting underserved populations vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We are working to do high-intensity, targeted outreach to ZIP codes that have been impacted by COVID-19, both with high case rates as well as low vaccination rates,” Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

Volunteers went door-to-door in the 85009 ZIP code just west of downtown Phoenix last week to help people eligible for the vaccine get registered and offer transportation to Phoenix Municipal Stadium, one of the four state-run COVID-19 vaccine sites.

More than 400 people from the ZIP code will be vaccinated this week from the effort, with the first of those receiving the vaccine shot on Monday, according to a press release.

A little less than half of those people will be taking taxicabs provided through the outreach program.

“This pilot program demonstrates how hard we are working to make sure all Arizonans who are eligible for the vaccine have easy access to a vaccination site,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in the release.

More than 8,300 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the 85009 ZIP code, according to the release, out of a population of nearly 57,000.

Just 18.8% of the eligible population in the 85009 ZIP Code has received the first dose of the vaccine as of Monday, according to the Maricopa County vaccine dashboard.

Christ said the program will now move into other underserved areas across Arizona.

The department is looking at a number of ZIP codes including areas in south Phoenix, Mesa, south Tucson and parts of Yuma.

Christ said the state health department will let people in the area know when volunteers will be knocking on doors.

Volunteers will never ask for a social security number, a form of payment and insurance information is not being collected, according to Christ. Individuals can always call the health department to verify.

Additional efforts to get underserved populations vaccinated include town halls in both English and Spanish, targeted social media messages, yard signs and other outreach.

The department of health is also reaching out to county agencies to set up vaccine distribution sites in communities, Christ said.

Nearly 775,000 Arizonans have received both vaccine shots as of Monday, according to the release, equaling more than 10% of the state’s population.

More than 2.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered in the state since distribution began in December, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services dashboard.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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