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Maricopa County releases essential worker details for COVID-19 vaccines

PHOENIX – Maricopa County health officials on Wednesday released details about which essential workers are first in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

The county health department for metro Phoenix said the following jobs were prioritized because they present the highest risks for work-related coronavirus exposure:

  • Food and agriculture
  • Grocery and convenience stores
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Public transit
  • State and local government
  • Funeral homes
  • Manufacturing

“We are partnering with large companies in these categories to notify their staff of events,” Marcy Flanagan, county health executive director, said in a press release. “Meanwhile, Public Health is working with other partners to reach smaller, local grocery stores, restaurants, manufacturers and farm workers.”

The release said the county is partnering with Valley Metro, the city of Phoenix, Phoenix Union School District and Albertson’s/Safeway on events.

It also said some restaurant groups have contracted with providers, who will be allocated doses from the county.

“Employers and organizations across Maricopa County are helping us connect with the essential workers in these categories,” Flanagan said. “As they set up events, we will provide vaccine and support to make sure we reach this critical group.”

The county and its partners will also continue administering vaccines at large points of dispensing and getting shots to long-term care facilities and underserved populations, according to the release.

Maricopa County received its first shipment of around 34,000 Johnson & Johnson shots on Monday.

The Johnson & Johnson version was the third to gain approval from U.S. regulators and the first to require just a single dose for full effectiveness. It is also easier to ship and store than the two-shot vaccines created by Moderna and Pfizer.

Under the Arizona Department of Health Services’ newly adopted hybrid vaccine distribution plan, the state-run sites shifted their focus to doling out shots by age, and counties are in charge of determining how to vaccinate other priority groups. All adults age 55 and older gained eligibility last week.

Some Arizona counties already have made their allocations available to essential workers, but Maricopa, the state’s largest county, hadn’t yet expanded eligibility outside of phase 1A populations, the priority segments of phase 1B or the designated age groups.

Maricopa County Public Health has a vaccine map that covers metro Phoenix and lists pharmacies, government-run sites, health clinics and pop-up distribution events.

For details about statewide vaccine availability, the Arizona Department of Health Services website has a vaccine-finder page with locations and information about registration and eligibility.

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