Two of the pharmacies involved in Mohave County’s vaccine rollout have developed a plan to increase their ability to distribute the vaccine.
The Mohave County Public Health Department said Wednesday that the pharmacies at Safeway and Albertsons will soon begin a drive-through vaccine operation that can accommodate around 320 people.
Additionally, each pharmacy will be able to distribute 40 doses per day, per location, the county said. The county estimated the pharmacies will deliver 1,000 doses next week among its locations in Lake Havasu City, Kingman, Bullhead City and Fort Mohave.
The location and operating hours of the drive-through clinic weren’t specified, and clerks at the Lake Havasu City Albertsons and Safeway stores reached Wednesday afternoon said they weren’t aware of the plan. Calls and an email to Mohave County Public Information Officer Roger Galloway weren’t immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.
The county also announced it had transferred an additional 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine to the Embry Health clinics in Bullhead City and 500 doses to the clinic in Kingman. The county said it expects the Embry clinics to increase hours of operations and the number of daily appointments.
The announcements come as the county attempts to improve its low vaccination rate. Mohave County has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the state. Only Apache County has a lower rate.
Mohave County has administered 13,002 vaccines as of Wednesday, according to the Arizona Department of Health. That accounts for 52 percent of the vaccines received, but county health officials warned Wednesday the state’s reported numbers could be deceptively low. The county health department will work with providers to ensure all vaccine doses administered are being reported to the state, a news release said.
The county had received 22,700 doses as of Jan. 31, according to the state health office.
Mohave County is currently offering the vaccine to health care workers and people over the age of 75 as part of the Priority 1B phase of the vaccination rollout. The county said on Friday it hopes to begin the next tier of Phase 1B -- education and childcare workers and people over 65 years old -- by next week.
More than 70% of the county’s covid-19 deaths have been in age groups over 70, and there are more than 28,000 county residents age 75 or older. Public Health Director Denise Burley says there are 37,000 county residents between the ages of 65 and 74.
“When we move into that (65-74 age group) and we add educators, we are going to be there for a while,” Burley said.
She appealed to the public to “stay with the phase,” adding providers will not vaccinate those who make appointments but don’t qualify. Those pointless appointments also slow the whole process down, she said.