First Vaccine Shipment Arrives In Arizona; Distribution Set To Begin This Week

By Katherine Davis-Young, Ron Dungan
Published: Monday, December 14, 2020 - 1:25pm
Updated: Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 1:08pm

The first shipments of coronavirus vaccine
Maricopa County Public Health
The first shipments of coronavirus vaccines arrived in Arizona on Dec. 14, 2020.

The first shipments of coronavirus vaccines arrived in Arizona on Monday morning. The earliest Pfizer vaccines to arrive in the state were sent to Maricopa and Pima counties.

Both counties plan to start administering vaccines Thursday. 

Maricopa County received about 18,000 doses in the first shipment. Marcy Flanagan, executive director of the Maricopa County Public Health Department, said the vaccines maintained the necessary ultra-cold temperature during shipping and there were no issues with the delivery.

“This is a sign of hope for all of us. It was very emotional here today, a lot of excitement and energy in the room. It was everything we’ve all been waiting for, which is just knowing that there is some relief, and it’s in the form of a vaccine, so we’re super excited,” Flanagan said.

"In Arizona, our plan is to get the vaccine to every corner of our state without delay, beginning with health care workers and vulnerable populations," Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement.

Across Maricopa County, five sites are planning drive-through, mass-vaccination events for health care workers. Arizona expects to begin vaccinating residents and staff of long-term care facilities later this month through a CDC partnership with pharmacies.

In all, more than 383,000 Arizonans could receive their first shot this month. The CDC will send more vaccines after a few weeks to ensure those people get both of the necessary doses.

Maricopa County health officials estimate the broader Arizona population will have access to a vaccine by spring or summer.

"While vaccine distribution is underway, it’s critically important that Arizonans continue to follow health and safety precautions to fight the spread and protect one another," Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said in a statement. "This is not the time to let our guard down." 

Although numbers are typically lower coming out of the weekend, the state reported nearly 12,000 cases on Monday, one of the highest daily counts on record.

But the Arizona Department of Health Services says updates made over the weekend made Monday’s numbers appear higher.

Arizona’s total number of cases passed the 400,000 mark over the weekend.

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