COCHISE COUNTY — A hotline has been established so that people who are 75 years of age and older can register for the Moderna vaccine and get an appointment, Cochise County health department officials said Monday.
Individuals in that age group are part of Phase 1B and are considered a priority, according to health officials.
The hotline went live on Monday morning, said Alicia Thompson, director of Cochise Health and Social Services, and there were dozens of calls.
The calls to the hotline are being fielded by the Arizona Department of Health Services. The number is 844-542-8201. On Tuesday morning, callers experienced long wait times.
There were obstacles, Thompson said. The 30 entities that the health department is partnering with to administer the vaccine were not correctly pushing out information regarding the locations where the shots are available. Those locations are known as PODS — points of distribution or disbursal.
Thompson said each of the 30 partners working with Cochise Health and Social Services have their own PODS where the vaccine is available. The issue of properly providing the locations was supposed to be resolved at a meeting between Thompson and the 30 partners at 1 p.m. Monday, Thompson said.
When calling the hotline, people who are 75 and older will be able to register and make an appointment at a POD that’s as close to their home as possible. Thompson said the 30 partners have PODS all over Cochise County.
This past Saturday more than 300 seniors age 75 and older were vaccinated in Douglas as the county launched the inoculations for people who qualify under Phase 1B priority. Aside from the elderly, other individuals who fall under Phase 1B include law enforcement officers, firefighters, teachers, corrections officers, child care staff, utility workers, health care workers not included in Phase 1A and high risk adults in congregate settings such as group homes and homeless shelters.
The vaccine rollout for the remainder of Phase 1B in Cochise County is expected to start on Jan. 23, Thompson said. The times and locations have not yet been announced.
So far, 2,602 people have been inoculated in Cochise County, according to the state’s health department website, updated Monday.
People under Phase 1A — the first group and category — included direct health care workers, such as emergency medical services personnel and emergency medical technicians, and staff and residents of long term care facilities in the county. This group of people began getting their shots on Dec. 22, Thompson said, a day after a shipment of 3,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in the county.
The county’s health department and its 30 partners were responsible for administering the vaccine to the direct health care workers. The staff and residents of long term care facilities received their vaccine through a pharmacy care program, Thompson said.
Anyone who wishes to be vaccinated must register first Thompson said.
“We don’t want people waiting in line for eight hours,” Thompson said. “You have to sign up for an appointment.”
She said the average wait time for people who register is 60 to 90 minutes.