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Thu, Feb. 25

Vaccinations expand to ages 65 and older

KINGMAN – Starting Wednesday, Feb. 17, Mohave County is opening COVID-19 vaccinations to residents age 65 and older, educators and child-care workers, county Public Health Director Denise Burley told the board of supervisors Tuesday, Feb. 16.

So far, 30 vaccine providers across the county have been vaccinating health-care workers, residents and employees of long-term care facilities, protective service employees like firefighters and police officers, and all residents age 75 and older. Now you can add residents ages 65-74 to the eligible list.

“We are expanding,” Burley said. “I know there was a lot of discussion on that timeline and that change. The decision was based on a risk model.”

Burley said the county wanted to give sufficient time for those age 75 and older to get shots without competition.

When Board of Supervisors Chairman Buster Johnson said “it will take us forever” to get through the next phase of vaccinations, Burley admitted the amount of people in that age group in the county “will keep us there for quite some time.”

To date, the county has received 28,700 doses of the two-dose Moderna vaccine, according to Burley, and administered 22,300 doses.

By the end of the week, the county is expecting to have distributed 80% of the available vaccine, Burley said, and there will be an effort to increase that percentage since “it doesn’t do any good for the vaccine to be on the shelf.”

When Johnson said it seems vaccine allocation numbers are dropping, Burley said they are steady at 3,000 doses per week.

Arizona gets 300,000 doses per week, said County Manager Sam Elters. Some of it goes to 24-hour mass vaccination centers, while the rest goes to counties based on population. Burley acknowledged there has been no real transparency in terms of access to monitoring the process.

Soon, nine county pharmacies will start getting their allocations from the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program activated Feb. 11, taking some of the burden off the county, Burley said, but the timeline is not confirmed yet.

“So far, we get more requests from providers than we have (vaccine doses),” she said. That is the reason the county is still not opening mass vaccination sites.

“We will need them,” Burley said, adding they will take place when the county receives more vaccine doses than the 30 local providers can handle.

If a county resident gets vaccinated somewhere else – Bullhead City residents can get vaccinated in Laughlin, Nevada – the county will be electronically notified, Burley said.

For the Mohave County Department of Public Health’s vaccine provider list and contact information, go here https://bit.ly/39gxPYJ

The Arizona vaccine registration is at https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov/

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