Thousands of Phoenix transit workers able to get COVID vaccine this weekend

Mar 12, 2021, 4:15 AM
(Facebook Photo/Valley Metro)...
(Facebook Photo/Valley Metro)
(Facebook Photo/Valley Metro)

PHOENIX — Thousands of frontline transit workers who serve metro Phoenix will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot at a private event this weekend, authorities said Thursday.

The event, taking place Friday through Sunday at Cesar Chavez High School in Laveen, is being operated by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health which has partnered with Albertson’s/Safeway and the Phoenix Union High School District.

The recently-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be administered at the event, according to a press release from Valley Metro. Maricopa County received its first shipment of around 34,000 Johnson & Johnson shots on Monday.

United States Postal Service workers and funeral home workers are also eligible to be vaccinated at the event.

Eligible workers who still require a registration link are urged to talk to their employers.

The event follows Maricopa County health officials on Wednesday classifying the following essential workers as eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine based on the highest risk for work-related COVID-19 exposure:

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

The state-run sites shifted their focus to doling out shots by age last week – lowering the age of eligibility to adults 55 and older – leaving counties to determine how to vaccinate other priority groups.

Maricopa County had previously not expanded eligibility outside of phase 1A populations, the priority segments of phase 1B or the designated age groups.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in the release said she was pleased to see transit workers move up the priority list at the county level.

“Since the pandemic began, these are the people who show up every day, and work in close contact with other people – sometimes helping them board a bus or even buckle a seatbelt,” Gallego said. “They do it despite the risk to their own health. There is no question they are the backbone of our local economy.”

There are approximately 4,000 transit workers who serve the metro Phoenix communities, according to the release.

Marcy Flanagan, county health executive director, said in a press release the county is working with employers and organizations to provide vaccines and support for similar events to reach essential workers.

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

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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Thousands of Phoenix transit workers able to get COVID vaccine this weekend