COCHISE COUNTY — Because of some glitches being reported in the state’s health department website by individuals signing up to get the Moderna vaccine under Phase 1A, Cochise County officials said Tuesday that details will be published to inform the public when and where the inoculations will be available for people under Phase 1B.
Additionally, Alicia Thompson, director of Cochise Health and Social Services, said the Arizona Department of Health Services patient portal is getting overwhelmed with people who are signing up so they can be notified once the vaccine is ready for those who fall under Phase 1B.
Thompson stressed that signing up on the state’s website is optional, not mandatory. She said there is no other portal or location where people who fall under Phase 1B can sign up, but she assured the public that the county will be advertising the availability of the Moderna vaccine for Phase 1B once that time arrives.
Thompson also said a new group has been added to the Phase 1B section to now include anyone over the age of 75. Phase B individuals also include law enforcement, firefighters, corrections officers, teachers and childcare staff, utility workers and health care workers not included in Phase 1A. It also includes high risk adults in congregate settings such as group homes and homeless shelters.
One of the issues being reported by Phase 1A individuals who have been signing up to get inoculated is that the state’s newly-created web page may not be showing all the locations where the vaccines are being administered. These locations are known as points of dispersal, or PODs.
Thompson said one of the members of her staff who lives in Sierra Vista tested the web page to determine where a POD was available in the city. Thompson said the closest POD that came up was in Douglas. There are several PODs in the Sierra Vista area.
“That can be very confusing to people, especially those in our older population,” Thompson said.
Thompson assured that all individuals under the Phase 1A group are being taken care of and that the network of communication is clear and strong.
“All this is evolving,” Thompson said. “There is no precedent for this and we are all learning in present time. We are trying to put out as much information as possible, as quickly as possible.”
She said that Chiricahua Community Health Centers, for example, will be among those partners in Cochise County that will have several PODs open once the Moderna vaccine is available for the Phase 1B group. The county’s health department will be posting those POD locations and the link to their websites once that happens, Thompson said.