PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - State leaders celebrated a vaccination milestone this week. Nearly half of all adults in Arizona have received at least one vaccine shot, according to Dr. Cara Christ, who is the director of the state health department.

But the success isn't evenly spread across the Phoenix metro or the state. Factors that are common among neighborhoods with high vaccine saturation include age and higher household income. While factors that link neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates include greater minority populations and lower household incomes.

"The mass vaccination sites have done a wonderful job for people who have access to private vehicles, access to internet service so they can preregister for those sites," said Heather Ross, Ph.D. She is a clinical assistant professor at ASU's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

"It's been great for a lot of people. But for people who don't have access to those accouterments of being wealthy, they're not doing so well," she said.

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And that is the challenge for public health officials - reaching the sizeable population of people who cannot or will not go to the highly publicized mass vaccination sites.

Arizona's Family Investigates combined vaccination data released by the Arizona Department of Health Services with population estimates released by the US Census Bureau. The result is a clear indication of which areas, identified by zip code, have had the highest and the lowest vaccine saturation.

Vaccines to the underserved

As of Thursday, Mountain park will have administered 20,000 vaccinations in its clinics.

Excluding some of the smallest zip codes and ones with military bases, which skew the data, the highest vaccination rates, as of April 12, include:

  • 85623 Rio Verde 100+%
  • 85646 Tubac 95% 
  • 85622 Green Valley 87%
  • 85350 Somerton 79%
  • 85262 Scottsdale 77%
  • 85375 Sun City West 75%
  • 85387 Surprise 75%
  • 85614 Green Valley 73%
  • 85045 Ahwatukee 73%
  • 85377 Carefree 72%

The zip codes with the lowest vaccinated percentage of the population include:

  • 86021 Colorado City 2%
  • 85708 Tucson 6%
  • 85928 Heber 8%
  • 85264 Fort McDowell 8%
  • 86432 Littlefield 10%
  • 85320 Aguila 11%
  • 85035 Maryvale 13%
  • 85033 Maryvale 14%
  • 85301 Glendale 15%
  • 85031 Maryvale 16%

"We have seen overwhelmingly that accessibility has been the biggest issue," said Janey Pearl Starks, who works for Mountain Park Health Center, which serves the Maryvale area with its clinics.

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Mountain Park and other community health services are mobilizing to spread the word that they have vaccines available in these underserved communities.

"It's a hugely disproportionate system right now, as far as who's getting vaccines. And we're doing everything we can to try to even that out," said Starks.

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As of Thursday, Mountain park will have administered 20,000 vaccinations in its clinics. It's a milestone, no doubt. But much more work lies ahead before Maryvale catches up to Scottsdale.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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