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Maricopa County To Begin Health Care Worker Vaccinations Thursday

Maricopa County will begin vaccinating health care workers Thursday. More than 40,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines  arrived in the county earlier this week.

The county’s vaccination efforts will begin at two points of dispensing, or “PODs,” managed by Banner and HonorHealth. Those appointment-only, drive-through events will be for thousands of pre-selected, high-risk health care workers. The county plans to open three more POD sites Monday.

“The county has done everything it can to be ready for this day tomorrow and for next week and to be ready in every possible way to make sure that the PODs are successful,” said Robert Rowley, director of the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management in a call with reporters Wednesday. 

Rowley said the county is preparing to operate the POD sites for about six weeks. Marcy Flanagan, executive director of Maricopa County Public Health, said additional sites for vaccinating other high-risk populations will open over the next few months as more vaccines become available.

“We’ll also start to work with pharmacies to distribute the vaccine and large employers," Flanagan said. 

Flanagan said it will be spring or summer before most Arizonans can get vaccinated. She said social distancing precautions are still critical in the meantime.

"Because there’s a vaccine available we absolutely have that fear that folks are going to start thinking it’s all done, it’s over with, and it’s not,” Flanagan told KJZZ's The Show Tuesday.  

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.