Michael O’Driscoll, director of the Gila County Health Department, recently provided the following: the county appreciates your patience in this time of COVID-19 vaccine. Our goal is to provide every resident in Gila County the opportunity for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC has published extensive recommendations for a phased approach for vaccine delivery within Gila County over the next several months. The Arizona Department of Health Services and Gila County will be following the recommendations established by CDC.

Due to the limited supply of vaccine, vaccination efforts will be highly targeted to protect the most vulnerable populations in Gila County. Phase 1 is divided into 3 sub phases. Phase 1A prioritizes front line healthcare workers, emergency medical service workers, and long-term care facility staff and residents. Phase 1B groups include adults in congregate settings, law enforcement, teachers and childcare workers, and essential services/critical industry workers. Phase 1C includes any adults aged 65 and older, and adults of any age with high-risk medical conditions.

Phase 1 is expected to be completed by mid-February 2021 since everyone requires 2-vaccine shots spread 28-30 days apart.

Gila County Health Department is currently moving into Phase 1B while still working on completing Phase 1A.

Q: How do I know where and when the vaccination clinics will be held in Gila County?

A: Group 1A is a very specific group of professionals and we were in contact with those health care organizations and first responders in advance of receiving our first allocation of vaccine and worked this group to set-up clinics. The dates and times for these clinics were not publicized.

Q: How come the Gila County Health Department does not have a list of planned vaccination clinics?

A: Vaccine is in short supply right now and each county is allocated vaccine by the CDC and ADHS based on a population formula. We can only plan clinics when we are allocated vaccine from the CDC and ADHS and the number of vaccines we receive changes from week to week.

Q: Will every resident have the opportunity to receive COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Absolutely! As we continue to receive vaccine, we will open vaccination clinics throughout Gila County and work with our Health Care partners to make those available to every resident.

Q: How will I know what group Gila County is in for administering COVID-19 vaccine?

A: The Gila County Health Department will begin to notify the public utilizing Facebook postings, website updates, and press releases once we move into other groups and finalize dates and times for clinics. Information will be posted and periodically updated on our Gila County Health & Emergency Management and Gila County Facebook page as well as on www.Readygila.com

Q: How can you contact Gila County to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: The best way to contact us is to email us a request at covid19vaccine@gilacountyaz.gov We ask that you do not send a request until we have officially notified the public that the group you fall into is being vaccinated. Please allow several days for our COVID-19 team to answer your emails. We are currently receiving hundreds of emails and calls each day.

Q: How are the long-term care and skilled nursing facilities residents and workers getting vaccinated?

A: The Federal Government has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer the vaccine to this group and all long-term care and skilled nursing facilities in Gila County have signed agreements with CVS and Walgreens to have the COVID-19 vaccine administered to their staff and residents.

Additional information about the phased approach to providing the vaccine can be found here: How the CDC Is Making COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations:

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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