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Mohave County touts COVID vaccines as ‘safe’

COVID-19 vaccines remain in short supply in Mohave County. (Adobe image)

COVID-19 vaccines remain in short supply in Mohave County. (Adobe image)

KINGMAN – It appears that COVID-19 is spreading faster than the vaccine in Mohave County, where older callers eligible to receive the vaccine have told the Miner about difficulties making appointments at a limited number of providers for a limited number of vaccines.

County health officials told the county board of supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 19 that the county to date has received 6,223 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which requires two doses. Another 2,400 first doses and 5,700 second doses are expected next week. They acknowledged that older residents’ inability to book appointments has been a problem.

The shots, which are distributed to county’s in amounts equivalent to their share of the state’s population, are now available to health-care workers, employees and residents of long-term care facilities, protective services occupations and, as of Friday, Jan. 15, persons age 75 and older.

Those older residents, county Health Director Denise Burley said, have “been waiting for months” for vaccines.

The program will be expanded to other groups as supplies become available, and timetables can’t be set due to the lack of information about long-term vaccination deliveries from the federal and state governments.

Burley said that mass vaccination programs, like those being conducted in Maricopa County, will not be possible in Mohave County until more vaccines become available. Suppliers are ramping up producion, trials on new vaccines are nearing completion and nationwide logistical problems are being addressed.

County health officials are working with providers and facilities to streamline operations to bring more providers online, but some are unprepared while others are reporting staffing shortages, Burley said, noting Smith’s Food and Drug will be joining the vaccination effort soon.

Staffing shortages are also reported at county hospitals struggling with a surge in cases and hospitaliztions in recent months, with 79% of ICU beds occupied countywide, Burley said.

The county has set weekly records for new cases and deaths in recent weeks, with 77 of the county’s 391 deaths from COVID-19 recorded in the first 15 days of 2021.

Burley cautioned that it’s going to take time for vaccines to be available to all residents.

“(Age) Sixty-five plus is a third of our population. It’s going to take time,” she said.

In a news release issued Monday, Jan. 18, county health officials touted the vaccine as safe and effective, and a way to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be highly effective in preventing COVID-19 infection; even if a person does get sick with COVID-19 after being vaccinated, it may greatly reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill,” the county wrote.

And, by helping stop transmission of the virus, getting vaccinated protects others in the community, including those at high-risk of complications from the disease.

Getting the vaccine is a safer way to gain immunity than becoming sick. “While the vaccine may cause some side-effects in some individuals, they are usually very mild and only last a day or two; so far, severe side-effects from the vaccine have been rarely reported,” the county wrote.

While social distancing, mask-wearing and handwashing remain important tools in preventing the spread of COVID-19, “the vaccine can greatly reduce the risk of an individual becoming infected, thereby stopping the spread. When these preventative measures are used all together, the sooner the pandemic will end,” the news release explained.

A list of current Mohave County vaccine providers with their websites and phone numbers can be accessed at https://bit.ly/2XTUnrJ. All locations require appointments to be set up via their websites or by phone, the county reported.

Persons not within the currently active categories should refrain from contacting providers at this time. As sufficient vaccine is received, vaccination will be expanded to other subcategories of Phase 1B, including education and childcare workers, essential services/critical industry workers, and adults with risk conditions in congregate settings.

“Here in Mohave County, please note that individual providers are still in the process of streamlining their individual vaccination scheduling, training staff in the vaccination priorities, and maximizing their weekly capacity for providing vaccines. Some are still vaccinating individuals in the 1A or 1B (Protective Services) categories before proceeding to the 75-plus category but are working diligently to get as much vaccine administered as rapidly as possible, despite the overwhelming demand and limited resources.,” the county wrote.

A current list of Kingman vaccine providers follows:

– Uptown Drug and Home Medical, 2820 E. Andy Devine Ave.; appointments: 928-753-2226; website: www.uptownuniteddrug.com; comments: Please complete the consent form available at the pharmacy, or on the website, and submit by fax or in person for scheduling.

– North Country Healthcare (Kingman Clinic), 1510 Stockton Hill Road; appointments: https://northcountryhealthcare.org/covidvaccine1a/

– Safeway Pharmacy 1887, 3970 Stockton Hill Road; appointments: https://mhealthsystem.com/COVID1887; contact for inquiries: 928-681-4903; comments: Patients will be required to attest to their 1A/1B status.

– Kingman Regional Medical Center, 3269 Stockton Hill Road; Comments: Only vaccinating KRMC employees, credentialed medical staff providers and EMS and Fire employees.

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