Arizona Has the Lowest Rate of COVID-19 Vaccination in the West, Tracking Site Indicates

Arizona Has the Lowest Rate of COVID-19 Vaccination in the West, Tracking Site Indicates

Arizona has the lowest rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in the West, and one of the lowest in the country, according to Bloomberg's COVID tracking site.

Part of the issue is that data from Arizona to the site has lagged. But Governor Doug Ducey believes the vaccination rollout has moved too slowly and he "wants this ramped up," a source close to the governor tells Phoenix New Times.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, will talk about the vaccine program at a 1 p.m. news conference today, and is expected to address the rate discrepancies. (Registration is required for the virtual news conference, and its not yet clear if it'll be televised later.)

The much-anticipated anti-coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are making their way across the country at differing paces, with distribution controlled by local leaders. Five distribution points in Arizona have been activated, with 24,620 doses distributed in Maricopa County as of Monday. The county is considered to be at phase 1A of the national plan. Frontline medical workers in many areas are eligible, and pharmacies began to offer on-site vaccinations in Arizona nursing homes as of Monday.

The Bloomberg site, however, shows Arizona could be doing much better at vaccinating its citizens. As of today's update, the state had vaccinated 0.41 percent of the population. Colorado, meanwhile, has already vaccinated 1.3 percent of its population. Georgia ties Arizona at 0.41 percent. Otherwise, the only states with lower rates than Arizona's are Iowa, Kansa, New Hampshire, and Mississippi.

The Bloomberg tracker has a long disclaimer and caveat about its interactive map: "Note: Data gathered from government websites, press conferences, public statements and Bloomberg interviews. Some states haven’t reported vaccination tallies, and it can take several days for counts to be added to local databases. State totals include city-level vaccine jurisdictions."

On Monday, the governor announced that eligibility for the vaccine will be expanded to people 75 and older in the next phase of the plan.

"We're working with Bloomberg to get the correct number of vaccinations reflected on its tracker," said Steve Elliott, spokesperson for the state DHS. "As of yesterday, there were at 45,803 doses administered through the 15 counties and through tribal partners receiving their allocations via the state. That's 37,627 Pfizer and 8,173 Moderna."
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern