Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 vaccine

Any person aged 16 or older is now eligible for free COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Arizona.

PAGE – Any person aged 16 or older is now eligible for free COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Arizona.

County officials said individuals with insurance should bring their insurance cards, though no one will be turned away for lack of insurance. 

According to Coconino County Health and Human Services, vaccines are currently available at Canyonland Healthcare and at Safeway Pharmacy. A phone number is given for Canyonland (928-645-6633), and a web link is provided for Safeway. The Safeway link led to an automated form; as of Monday morning, there were no appointments available.

The county website also lists Banner Health, but a March 10 announcement from Banner states, “Starting next week Banner Page Hospital will no longer be giving the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. The clinic staff will continue to offer second-dose vaccines through March 18 for those who received their first dose at the clinic. After March 18, staff will refer all patients seeking a vaccine to other providers in the community. This allows the clinic to focus on needed primary care services.”

As of March 21, Arizona Department of Health Services shows 81.1% of county residents 65 and older have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s 68.8% for the same age group. Overall, 34% of county residents are vaccinated. In Page, 3,030 have had at least one dose, and 1,824 are fully vaccinated. While the number of daily reported cases of COVID-19 has plummeted, they’re still higher than they were last spring. ADHS on Saturday reported 735 new Arizona cases for the day. The county reported 29 cases for the same day.

Many states are showing increased virus spread since lifting restrictions. Arizona, so far, is reporting a promising 45% drop. About 2 million Arizonans have had at least one vaccination.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the current vaccine should protect people from the variants in circulation. He also said the natural immunity from catching one variant of COVID-19 won’t necessarily protect against another variant.

Fauci urges everyone to get vaccinated, including those who’ve had COVID-19.

There is also a misconception about herd immunity; the rule of thumb is 70% of a population must have immunity.

Herd immunity is based on the type of virus and requires different percentages. Fauci says 70-90% is more accurate.

Dr. David M. Morens, Fauci’s senior adviser on epidemiology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the only truly accurate measures of herd immunity are done in actual herds and come from studying animal viruses.

These studies are easier because they measure animal to animal disease spread with penned cattle. Humans move around, so it’s much more complicated.


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