Demand for COVID-19 vaccine remains high as Arizona nears 320,000 doses administered

Demand for COVID-19 vaccine remains high as Arizona nears 320,000 doses administered

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The Arizona Department of Health Services says nearly 320,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the state. Still, many are struggling to get a vaccination appointment.

John Core, a 71-year-old from Mesa, is one of those eligible seniors who wants to get vaccinated but hasn’t been able to find an open time slot.

“One of the reasons that my wife is so adamant about me getting the vaccine is because I also have C-L-L which is chronic lymphatic leukemia,” Core said.

He says his 67-year-old wife, also eligible for vaccination at a state site, tried calling the state’s help line but had little luck. “I can’t politely say on camera what went through my mind,” Core said.

All available appointments are now filled in Maricopa County and the state’s two mass-vaccination sites at State Farm Stadium and Phoenix Municipal Stadium are booked for February. Health officials would like to speed things up, but vaccine supply remains the big problem.

“I think one of the reasons is that the manufacturers lag behind,” said Dr. Ernst Von Schwarz, a Medical Researcher and Cardiologist.

As of this week, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported ordering more than 875,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine statewide. So far more than 270,000 individuals have gotten the vaccine, including more than 44,000 people who have received both doses.

“Vaccines sitting on a shelf don’t save any lives, but vaccinations do,” Dr. Von Schwarz said.

The state is hopeful that its weekly allocations of coronavirus vaccine will increase, which could pave the way for more appointment availability. That will fall on the shoulders of the new Biden administration, which has promised to accelerate vaccine distribution.

“As you know Biden promised 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his presidency a few days ago. So that started today. So that’s a good sign and that’s very optimistic that that’s going to happen,” Dr. Von Schwarz said.

But for people like Core, who is still waiting for his vaccine, it’s a shot at getting back to normalcy that can’t come soon enough. “People aren’t just frustrated,” he said. “They’re not getting where they need to be.”