Q&AZ: What you need to know about getting the coronavirus vaccine in Arizona

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Friday, January 15, 2021 - 5:10pm
Updated: Friday, November 19, 2021 - 4:11pm

covid testing and vaccine signs
Christina Van Otterloo/KJZZ
Signage for a COVID-19 vaccination and testing event at Scales Technology Academy in Tempe.

Since January 2021, KJZZ News has received a lot of questions about how to access COVID-19 vaccines in Arizona. Here's what we know. (This guide will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.)

Who is eligible to get a vaccine in Arizona?

Anyone age 5 or older is eligible to get vaccinated in Arizona.

Three vaccines are currently approved for use in the U.S. Each has been proven to be safe and effective in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19.

Pfizer

  • Age 5 and up.
  • Two doses, 21 days apart.
  • Booster dose recommended after six months.

Moderna

  • Age 18 and up.
  • Two doses, 28 days apart.
  • Booster dose recommended after six months.

Johnson & Johnson

  • Age 18 and up.
  • One dose.
  • Booster dose recommended after two months.

For more information about different types of vaccines, visit CDC.gov.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Who is eligible for a booster dose?

All adults are now eligible to receive a booster dose. All adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine initially should receive a booster after two months. All adults who received the Moderna of Pfizer vaccines should receive a booster after six months. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly encourages these groups should get a booster:

  • Anyone 18 or older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as their first dose more than two months ago.
  • Anyone 50 or older who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as their first doses more than six months ago.
  • Anyone 18 or older who lives in a long-term care setting and received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as their first doses more than six months ago.

Which type of booster should I get?

 Your booster does not need to be the same type of vaccine you had initially.

“Any kind of booster dose would be a good booster,” said Jessica Rigler, assistant director for the division of public health preparedness with the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Moderna and Pfizer are much more widely available in pharmacies throughout the state, so it’s likely when you go to get your booster dose that it will be one of those two dose types, but we would recommend that you get vaccinated with a booster dose of whatever’s available,” Rigler said.

For more information about different types of vaccines, visit CDC.gov.

COVID-19 isn't as severe in children. Why should I get my kids vaccinated?

COVID-19 is typically milder in children, but it can still be risky. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports 40 Arizonans under the age of 20 have died of COVID-19 in 2021, and nearly 3,000 under age 20 have been hospitalized.

“Even though we’re seeing that most of the children who ended up with severe illness are usually patients who have medical problems, we’ve actually, especially during the delta variant surge lately, we’ve seen a lot of previously healthy kids who ended up in the hospital,” Dr. Wassim Ballan, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, told KJZZ’s The Show.

Dr. Sean Elliot, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Tucson Medical Center, told KJZZ’s The Show many parents have come to him with concerns about the safety of the vaccines for their children. Some are concerned the vaccine is too new. He encourages parents to speak with pediatricians about the vaccine’s safety.

8 year old girl child COVID-19 vaccine shot
KJZZ
A child gets a COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 5, 2021, in Tempe.

“This particular vaccine product is newer, but it’s been tested unbelievably rigorously," Elliot said. "So it’s very much a conversation. Where are the concerns? How can I address those? And does the parent trust me as their child’s provider to give a fair, honest and transparent answer?” 

And getting more children vaccinated will also help Arizona move closer to herd immunity, according to Don Herrington, interim director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“As with colds and influenza, children are effective spreaders of disease to each other and to people who are more vulnerable, including higher-risk youth and adults who either aren’t vaccinated or could develop a rare breakthrough case,” Herrington wrote.

Read more about COVID-19 vaccines for children at CDC.gov.

Where can I make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona? 

There are hundreds of locations administering COVID-19 vaccines in Arizona and many sites have their own online appointment systems. You can find a list of vaccine sites statewide at azdhs.gov. Appointment information is also available by phone at 211 or 844-542-8201. 

Many Albertson’s, CVS, Costco, Fry's, Safeway, Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies are offering vaccines. The website VaccineFinder.com can help you check which pharmacies near you have vaccines available. 

Find more Maricopa County vaccine sites at maricopa.gov

A COVID-19 vaccination sign
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A COVID-19 vaccination sign outside a Phoenix grocery story on Oct. 20, 2021.

How can I find an appointment for a specific type of vaccine?

Three vaccines are currently approved for use in the U.S. Each has been proven to be safe and effective in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for use for adults 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for anyone 5 or older. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses in the initial series. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose in the initial series. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services lists vaccine sites statewide at azdhs.gov/findvaccine. Click the arrow on the left side of the map to filter locations by vaccine type.

Maricopa County Public Health also lists vaccine locations at maricopa.gov/5659/COVID-19-Vaccine-Locations. Click the dropdown menu above the map to filter locations by vaccine type. 

How can I get a vaccine appointment if I don’t have internet access or I’m having trouble with appointment websites?

The state’s bilingual COVID-19 hotline is at 844-542-8201.

Maricopa County Public Health can also assist with vaccine appointments at 602-506-6767.

How can I get to my vaccine appointment in Arizona if I don't drive?

The state’s COVID-19 hotline at 844-542-8201 can assist with transportation resources.

The Arizona Department of Health Services also says, “Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) members who cannot provide or arrange their own transportation can contact their health plans to coordinate transportation to a vaccine provider or call 1-855-345-6432 to reach the transportation line.”

Can part-time residents or visitors get the vaccine in Arizona?

Yes, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, “place of permanent residence does not factor into whether someone can get vaccinated in Arizona.”

What do I do if I lose my COVID-19 vaccination card?

When you are vaccinated for COVID-19, you will be provided a record of immunization from the CDC 

Maricopa County Public Health recommends taking a picture of the front and back of your vaccine card for your records.

If you need a replacement card, you can request one through the Arizona Immunization Program Office, which is part of the Arizona Department of Health Services. You can fill out their Immunization Record Request Form and file it via email, fax, or mail. 

Vaccination card
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A vaccination card for the COVID-19 vaccine.

How does Arizona's vaccination rate compare to that of other states?

Arizona’s COVID-19 vaccination rate has consistently been about 5 percentage points lower than the national average.

The CDC tracks vaccination rates for each state on its website.

Where can I find additional information about coronavirus vaccines in Arizona?

Additional information is available from the Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County Public Health.

Have another question about the coronavirus vaccine? Ask us at qaz.kjzz.og.

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