The development of Covid-19 vaccines and the subsequent approval by the FDA has been a substantial entry in the latest pandemic news. Fortunately, the United States now has three vaccines that have received FDA approval and the rollout of vaccines through the country is in progress. You’ve probably heard differing figures on how well they protect. But the bottom line is this- they all prevent death and hospitalization.
The actual vaccine you get isn’t the issue. It’s getting every person vaccinated as soon as possible. The sooner we get to herd immunity- that time when enough people have been vaccinated so that transmission is diminished to the point the infection has been effectively controlled- the sooner we can get back to normal. It’s on all of us to make sure this happens as soon as possible. Not just so we can finally visit our loved ones, return to work, travel and get rid of masks but so no one else will die. These vaccines will save lives.
Despite their availability, many people are finding it difficult to locate vaccines. We’ll break down how you can start your search for a covid-19 vaccine.
Each state has its own guidelines and procedures for getting its citizens vaccinated. Some groups are prioritized in one state, and not in others. In Arizona, eligibility is broken down into the following groups:
●Phase 1A – Healthcare Workers & Healthcare Support Occupations, Emergency Medical Services Workers, Long-term Care Facility Staff & Residents
●Priority Phase 1B – Education & Childcare Workers, Protective Services Occupations, Adults 65 and older**, Remaining 1A
●Phase 1B – Essential Services/Critical Industry Workers, Adults with High-Risk Conditions in Congregate Settings, Remaining 1A & Prioritized 1B
●Phase 1C – Adults of Any Age with High-Risk Medical Conditions, Adults Living in Congregate Settings, Remaining 1A & 1B
●Phase 2– Additional High-Risk/Critical Populations, General Public, Remaining Phase 1 Populations
●Phase 3 – General Public, Remaining Phase 1 & 2 Populations
When registering for the vaccine through any organization (we’ll get to that later), you’ll typically be asked a series of questions to determine your eligibility within these groups. To register, you’ll need to be a part of a currently eligible group. You can check your eligibility on the Arizona Department of Health website.
Finding the Vaccine
Once you’ve determined whether you are eligible for the vaccine, the next step is to locate available vaccines and register. There are several resources available; states health departments, pharmacies, and many websites provide vaccine locators to help you with your search. Here are a few that we found most helpful.
The Arizona Department of Health offers several tools; determine your eligibility, read up on common FAQs about the vaccines, and find a vaccine using their locator. The map is incredibly helpful in tracking down vaccines within the state as understanding which priority groups are currently able to receive their vaccines there (as seen in the example below). You can click on locations throughout the state to read the details about the site as well as use the provided links to the site websites to start the registration process.
To check out the vaccine locator tool or explore more of the ADHS resources, click the button below.
VaccineFinder is a free online service where users can search for locations that offer vaccinations. They partner with clinics, pharmacies, and health departments to provide accurate and up-to-date information about vaccination services. VaccineFinder is operated by epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children’s Hospital.
A great benefit to this site is that it provides information for most states. Some people are in the process of assisting family members, many of which live in different states, locate vaccines and help with the registration process. Rather than search around online for the individual vaccine providers which can vary greatly state-by-state, this centralized website makes the search a bit easier. Since vaccines are constantly being replenished and sent to new locations, check the site regularly for updated information. Click below to get started.
The Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) manages Vaccines.gov. OIDP is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This site is packed full of helpful information regarding the covid-19 vaccines, has a vaccine locator, and answers to FAQs. Since the covid-19 vaccines were in development, some people have expressed hesitancy originating from a variety of factors including the politicization of the vaccine, the development process, and general hesitancy about vaccines; vaccine.gov addresses such concerns thoroughly. A big positive in the battle to overcome this virus- recent polls show that vaccine hesitancy (specifically for the Covid-19 vaccine) in the United States is falling, with nearly 70% of Americans saying they will get the vaccine when available to them.
Pima County Health Department
People who are currently eligible for the vaccine can register through the Pima County Health Department site. Once registered, individuals can be vaccinated at TMC, Banner Kino, or at Tucson Convention Center. You can also request at-home vaccination through the PCHD site.
The downside to the Pima County website is that the information provided is limited to the county. With delays in local vaccine deliveries and backlogs of appointments, it is one resource to utilize, but you may have more luck checking resources like the Arizona Department of Health to get a wider picture of vaccine availability near you.
For more information:
Telephone assistance for registration at TMC and TCC (520) 222-0119
New hours as of Feb. 5: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Registration for Banner (833) 509-0908
Registration for Arizona Health Department vaccination center at the University of Arizona 1 (844) 542-8201.
These are just a few resources that we found helpful in locating Covid-19 vaccines. This week, information was released that there will likely be enough vaccines for the entire U.S. population by the end of May. It remains to be seen if that goal will be reached, but the newest approval of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine certainly will help us inch toward that milestone.
More studies are needed to fully understand whether those that are vaccinated are able to transmit the virus to unvaccinated individuals. Even after receiving the vaccine, there is potential for people to be asymptomatic carriers of the virus and infect others. For this reason, even after vaccination, we need to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. And yes, it is still recommended that you receive the vaccine even if you’ve already had Covid-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is an excellent source for any questions about Covid-19, including how to choose and wear a mask, travel guidelines, preventing illness during daily activities, symptoms/testing, and much more.
Experts across the board agree that basic precautions must be still maintained regardless of your vaccination status: wear a mask and keep physical distance from others until herd immunity is achieved, especially with the new, more infectious and virulent strains coming into the country.