Q&AZ: When Can Essential Workers Get COVID-19 Vaccines?

By Austin Fast
Published: Sunday, January 17, 2021 - 9:01pm
Updated: Monday, January 18, 2021 - 3:38pm
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Essential workers are included in Phase 1B of Arizona's rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the state.

As of Jan. 15, only Apache, Navajo and Santa Cruz counties had moved into this phase, making essential workers eligible for vaccination. This opens up vaccines to a long list of people who keep our society functioning, according to the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Dr. Cara Christ.

"That will be people who work in the transportation industry, including gas stations, shipping, those types of things, (and) the food industry, including agriculture," Christ said. 

The key is that employers of essential workers must fill out an online form available here with the state health department, telling how many employees they have who meet the criteria and why they’re considered essential. Counties will then consider these employees as vaccine supplies become available.

The state health department has defined essential workers based on federal guidelines and Gov. Doug Ducey's executive order dated March 23, 2020. They include: 

  • Power and utility workers
  • Food and agriculture-related occupations (packaging and distribution workers, grocery and restaurant workers)
  • Transportation and material-moving occupations (public transportation providers, airlines, gas stations, auto shop workers, and other transportation network providers)
  • State and local government workers that provide cricial services for continuity of government
  • Other essential workers (e.g., business and financial services, supply chain for critical goods, funeral services, critical trades, etc.)

Essential workers such as K-12 educators, childcare providers, law enforcement, corrections and emergency response staff were already made eligible as part of the "Prioritized Phase 1B" in Arizona.

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