COCHISE COUNTY — While county health officials and their partners continue to struggle weekly with the number of vaccines they’re allotted, they’re assuring the public that those who are getting ready to receive their second inoculation will get it on time.

Everything hinges on the number of vaccines that arrive in the county’s weekly shipment, said Alicia Thompson, director of Cochise Health and Social Services.

But the county already is receiving shipment of the vaccine designated as “second doses,” Thompson said, and that round of shots has already begun.

“Our vaccination team members are actively vaccinating individuals with their second dose,” Thompson said. “We are ensuring enough second doses are taken into account when we allocate our weekly doses.”

The health department and its partners around the county are in the process of inoculating priority Phase 1B individuals. That group includes anyone 65 years of age and older, as well as school and childcare workers, protective service workers and remaining Phase 1A individuals.

Because the health department and its partners must be aware of their second-dose allotment, there is not enough vaccine to go around at the moment for Phase 1B people who are trying to get their first shot.

“We do not have enough vaccine for first doses for all those in prioritized Phase 1B,” Thompson said. “Our shipment that we received today (Tuesday) was only 1,700 first doses and 1,700 second doses.”

Thompson said the first doses of the vaccine that have been administered in the county have been documented.

“When we learn how many total vaccines we are allowed to order, we automatically designate the correct number of doses that are needed for second doses and then designate the remainder as first doses,” Thompson said. “Our vaccination partners are aware of how many first doses and how many second doses they are receiving and are responsible for ensuring their second doses are administered as second doses.

“The number of vaccine doses is limiting the number of vaccine appointments available.”

For now, Thompson said anyone who qualifies in the Phase 1B group can sign up and get their shot once an appointment is available. She said there are 20 entities working with the county that are eligible to administer the vaccine. Among them are the Family Health Center, Sierra Vista Internal Medicine and Patel Medical Clinic.