PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Arizona has hit another benchmark in the fight against COVID-19 and the push to get as many people vaccinated as possible. As of today, more than 6 million doses of vaccine have been administered here in Arizona. That includes fully vaccinated people and those who have received at least one shot of either of the two-dose vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna.
“Arizona has reached another major milestone with our six millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine administered,” said Governor Ducey. “This is the result of hard work by so many ‒ nurses, doctors, pharmacists, staff, volunteers and more. Arizona is proud of the success so far and we’re committed to keeping up the momentum.”
As our COVID-19 case count and number of hospitalizations drop, Arizona – like the rest of the country – has focused on vaccination education. With demand for the vaccine dropping, which health officials anticipated as we approached a turned point in the coronavirus pandemic, the goal now is to overcome vaccine hesitancy. It’s an issue that’s not endemic to Arizona.
“The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we’re going to have in the fight against this virus,” President Joe Biden said from the White House on Tuesday, June 2, as he announced a “month of action.” His goal is to have 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4.
Here in Arizona, we have a ways to go before we hit that milestone. As of Thursday, June 3, the day after Biden made his announcement, less than half of the people in Arizona – 46.7% -- were vaccinated.
The Arizona Department of Health’s chart from June 3 shows a decrease in the number of vaccines administered daily since peak demand in March and April.
Some states are coming up with unique ways to entice those who might be on the fence to get vaccinated, including lotteries, some with big prizes. Ohio was the first one to make headlines with its $1 million lottery prizes. California’s “Vax for the Win” will give away 10 $1.5 million prizes. If a kid wins, they’ll have a heck of a savings account when they turn 18. Oregon’s “Take Your Shot” promotion puts $1 million on the table, plus a $10,000 prize in each of its 36 counties.
While Arizona hasn’t done anything like that (yet?), people here are eligible for a variety of freebies from companies that are encouraging people to roll up their sleeves. CVS is giving away cash prizes and tropical vacations while Anheuser-Busch promises a round on them if – when – the U.S. hits Biden’s July 4 goal. The plan is to offer people a $5 virtual credit card good for one of its beverages, be it a beer, a seltzer, or a nonalcoholic drink. People recently posted a roundup of “some of the coolest COVID-19 vaccine incentives.”
Here in Arizona, state health officials are focusing on education, shifting the spotlight from the big vaccination centers to clinics and events in individual neighborhoods.
"We need to engage with people one on one," Dr. Cara Christ, the director of ADHS, said. "That's harder to do at those [big] sites because someone has to decide that they already want to be vaccinated. Here [at a neighborhood pop-up clinic]; they can come with family, they can just stop by. They can ask questions; we can answer those personal questions. And then they can decide whether or not to get vaccinated."
The goal is to get the vaccine to people where they are and make getting a vaccination as easy and convenient as possible.