The Mohave County Health Department will stop deliveries of the coronavirus vaccine to Embry Health clinics this week, according to Mohave County Supervisor Ron Gould.
Embry employees have conducted coronavirus testing at Mohave Community College campuses throughout the county since August, and on Jan. 21 joined in Mohave County’s vaccination efforts. But according to Gould, Embry may not have properly submitted its vaccination records to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
“According to the Mohave County Health Department, Embry has been having problems getting their paperwork squared away with the state,” Gould said Thursday. “Until they get that taken care of, they’ll be receiving no more of the vaccine from the county.”
Mohave County continues to show the second-lowest rate of vaccinations in Arizona on Thursday, and severe winter weather throughout the U.S. has further hindered efforts to inoculate county residents against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Public Health Director Denise Burley told supervisors on Monday that some vaccine providers weren’t submitting paperwork as required to the state, perhaps indicating why Mohave County’s vaccine rate is so low. She didn’t name the clinics, but this week’s action targeted Embry Health Clinics, which are operating at MCC campuses in Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City and Kingman.
Mohave County has received a total of 28,700 vaccine doses from the Arizona Department of Health. According to the state, Mohave County has administered 77 percent of the allocated doses and has a vaccination rate of 10,167 per 100,000 population. That’s only slightly ahead of Apache County, which has the state’s lowest rate at 9,158 per 100,000 population.
The loss of Embry as a vaccine provider — at least for the short term — could be detrimental to residents who wish to be vaccinated. But according to Gould, there is no shortage of vaccination
providers in Mohave County.
“There are a few providers who are either experiencing staffing issues or technical difficulties with reporting vaccine administration,” Burley said. “Those experiencing technical difficulties are working directly with ADHS to resolve the issue.”
This week, the MCC’s parking lot in Lake Havasu City remained nearly empty as Embry Health officials awaited their next shipment of the vaccine. Embry has until this week received about 3,000 doses of the vaccine per week for distribution to Mohave County residents. On Thursday, officials at the campus appeared unaware of the development.
“We’ve slowed down a lot, but we’re supposed to get more vaccines soon,” said Embry Health Lead Tracy Gomora. “We’re expecting it to pick up soon.”
Other providers throughout the county were still waiting for their own supplies of the vaccine as of Thursday evening. As icy roads, brutal cold and possible flooding cause emergency conditions in other parts of the country, county officials say that shipments of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine have been delayed indefinitely.
This follows Mohave County’s new plans to make vaccinations available to educators and residents 65 and older, which were scheduled to begin Wednesday. A new shipment of the vaccine was expected this week, as Mohave County providers hoped to meet the ongoing demand. Now, Mohave County Health Director Denise Burley says that it’s unclear when, or if that shipment will arrive this week at all.
According to Burley, the county’s coronavirus call center will continue to answer questions from the public and assist residents in scheduling their respective vaccination appointments. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Administration as of earlier this month were aiding call center employees in arranging appointments for Mohave County residents through Embry Health. The status of those appointments was unknown as of Thursday evening.
The Mohave County Health Department reported 52 new confirmed coronavirus cases countywide on Thursday, of which 10 were reported in Lake Havasu City. Health officials also reported four new deaths – three in the area of Bullhead City, and one in Kingman.
Mohave County residents requiring information, or assistance in scheduling an appointment, can do so by calling 928-753-8665.