February 7, 2021 / Modified feb 8, 2021 9:25 a.m.

Pima County COVID-19 vaccine shortage due to federal government

The state made an error in ordering according to a member of Congress.

360 more moderna vials A container holds several vials of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine at a distribution event at Tucson Medical Center on Jan. 15, 2021.
Robert Lindberg/AZPM Staff

Pima County will receive 12,000 fewer COVID-19 vaccines this week, and state officials said the problem lies with the federal government.

A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Health Services, which distributes vaccines to the counties, said the shortage is due to a fewer vaccines being sent to Arizona by the federal government.

“The current limitation on vaccine administration in Arizona is the number of doses made available by the federal government. The number of doses we're receiving impacts all of our local allocators, including Pima County,” wrote ADHS spokesperson Holly Poynter in an email to AZPM on Friday night.

Poynter also wrote that Pima County receives about 14% of Arizona’s allocation. Pima County is the second largest county in the state based on population.

According to ADHS data, the state has received 1,135,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Pima County has received a total of 165,950 doses of the vaccine. Maricopa County, the state's most populous, has received 461,375. The state run distribution centers, both of which are in Maricopa County, have received 200,850 doses.

According to the state health department, shipments of Pfizer doses are more consistent to Arizona than those of vaccine made by Moderna.

The state, in January, asked the federal government for a larger allocation of COVID-19 vaccines but so far has not received an answer.

On Thursday, Congressman Greg Stanton, sent a letter to the White House asking for up to 300,000 doses a week.

In the letter, Stanton said the state made that request to the federal government in January but sent it to the wrong agency.

He wrote that error has since been corrected.

Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema have sent similar requests to the federal government.

Nearly 900,000 vaccines have been distributed in Arizona. A little more than 2% of those are second vaccines.

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