Pima County board wants Ducey to reconsider FEMA vaccine site offer

Mar 24, 2021, 2:26 PM | Updated: 3:02 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)

PHOENIX — The Pima County Board of Supervisors wants Gov. Doug Ducey to reconsider allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up COVID-19 vaccine sites in southern Arizona.

The board on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a resolution asking Ducey to allow permission to set up the FEMA sites, which would be located at the Kino Sports Complex Event Center and El Pueblo Center.

The sites would be able to fully vaccinate up to 200,000 people, according to the board.

Ducey said Wednesday during a press conference at the state-run University of Arizona mass vaccination site he’d reconsider the offer, but that Arizona would rather have more vaccine for its own distribution operations than new federal sites.

“Our objective is to get the vaccine out faster and to more Arizonans,” Ducey said. “We can do that with our existing infrastructure. What we need is inventory.”

FEMA approached county leaders earlier this month with the promise of administering up to 6,000 doses a day starting March 31.

Ducey said the state is giving more than 60,000 vaccines a day at its four active state-run sites.

Pima County didn’t learn of Ducey’s denial until a press conference held by state health director Dr. Cara Christ last Friday, according to the board.

The resolution also says that if Ducey continues to deny the FEMA sites, the board will ask the Department of Homeland Security to provide the vaccinations anyway.

The county wants to prioritize distribution to ZIP codes with low vaccination rates.

Pima County also announced Wednesday it will expand its vaccine eligibility at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Anyone 55 and older is eligible, as well as anyone 16 and older with risk factors or are considered essential workers by the county.

Vaccine appointments and eligibility can be found through the state’s registration website or by calling 844-542-8201.

Pima County appointments can be made on its website.

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Pima County board wants Ducey to reconsider FEMA vaccine site offer