PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- With thousands of vaccination appointments remaining unfilled in Arizona, vaccine supply appears to be catching up with demand. It's a much different picture than earlier in the year when people scrambled to get vaccination appointments as soon as they opened in Arizona.

"Certainly we knew as we were going to have a ramp-up in vaccine and vaccine availability across the United States, supply would start slow," said Dr. Michael White, Valleywise Health's Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. White says we're getting to a point in Arizona where most people who wanted to get a vaccine have either gotten it or have an appointment scheduled. He says the biggest hurdle is now reaching those that are vaccine skeptical. A recent poll from Monmouth University shows that about one in five adults in the U.S. are unwilling to get vaccinated.

"We are going to have times where there are going to be appointments available, and there aren't people to fill the slots," Dr. White said.

It comes as state-run vaccination sites in Tucson and Yuma move toward taking walk-in patients to get vaccinated, and as a PSA from the Arizona Department of Health Services hits the airwaves encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Dr. White says that in the coming weeks and months, there will likely be a shift to vaccinating at community clinics and local drug stores and away from large mass-vaccination sites.

"[It's] more efficient to be done locally. Now we still have a large group of people where we may need to use vaccines, and that's our children and adolescents where we haven't started vaccinating at all. So we still may see a role for the large vaccination sites," Dr. White said.

So far, only around 38% percent of Arizonans have either partially or fully vaccinated. Some health experts say we'll need around a 65 to 70% vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity. Even though Arizona is still a ways away from that number, Dr. White says he's still optimistic the state can get there.

 

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