Pinal County Educators Begin Receiving First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

By Rocio Hernandez, Steve Goldstein
Published: Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 3:40pm
Updated: Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 11:13am

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Pinal Vaccine Site
Paul Hatch
Pinal County says its seen high demand for the COVID-19 vaccine. The county says there are no available appointments for the next two weeks.

Pinal County entered Phase 1B last week of COVID-19 vaccinations, making it the first county, and until Tuesday, the only county in the state to reach that phase. This means Pinal County educators are now eligible to sign up to get the vaccine, along with health-care workers and others in the Phase 1A category. 

Paul Hatch
Paul Hatch
Paul Hatch is likely among the first educators in Arizona to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. He says he did it to protect his wife and mother-in-law, and be able to teach in-person safely.

Florence Unified School District employees began getting their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week, said Superintendent Chris Knutsen. This includes certified teachers, administrators and classified staff such as bus drivers and custodians. 

“The sooner we can get our teachers vaccinated I think the sooner we can get back to somewhat of normal school in FUSD," Knutsen said.  

Paul Hatch, 63, who teaches Spanish classes at Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley, got his vaccine last Wednesday. He waited in line for about four hours and saw many colleagues at the vaccine site. He did it to protect his wife, whose in her 60s, and 97-year-old mother-in-law who lives with his family.

“And also to protect myself so I can continue to teach cause I hate the online stuff," he said. "I like being face to face with the kids. It’s just not the same.” 

The demand for appointments has been so high that Pinal county has no available appointments for the next two weeks, a county spokesman said. 

The Show spoke with the county’s Public Health Director Dr. Tascha Spears about how the county is currently being affected by the pandemic. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to correct the age of Paul Hatch's mother-in-law.

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