Mohave County educators and residents ages 65 and older became eligible to receive coronavirus vaccinations, but actually receiving a dose of the vaccine was another story.
No lines were present at locations such as Albertsons Pharmacy or Walgreens in Lake Havasu City on Wednesday, despite the announcement of Mohave County’s next phase of vaccinations – all for the same reason. As of midday Wednesday, there were no vaccines to give.
Mohave County Spokesman Roger Gallery said vaccine shipments were delayed by bad weather elsewhere in the country. He said it was unclear when providers would receive their allocations of vaccine doses this week. As a result, several providers have started canceling scheduled appointments, he said.
At Mohave Community College, Embry HealthHealth workers have provided testing for the coronavirus, and have offered vaccinations by appointment since December. The process has required residents to “drive up” to providers at the location, where they would receive their dose of the vaccine. On a normal day, workers say the parking lot would be filled with residents hoping to be vaccinated or tested for the virus. On Wednesday, that parking lot was empty.
“The effort is still underway, but we don’t have any (vaccines) to give,” said Embry Administrator Chris Witham. “We’re hoping to get more soon. We have a million people who want one.”
A new shipment of vaccine doses was scheduled to arrive at the facility this week, but Witham was uncertain as to when such a shipment would arrive.
“We’re upset,” Witham said. “This is our community. We don’t like the delay, but there’s only so much we can do. We want to vaccinate people in our community.”
Lake Havasu City residents issued comments on Facebook to Today’s News-Herald about Wednesday’s rollout for new recipients – or lack thereof. And even residents ages 75 and older, who qualified to receive the vaccine in January, have not yet been able to receive their dose.
“My 83-year-old husband finally got an (appointment) date for the end of March,” said Michelle Dahinden on Wednesday. “He should have qualified long ago, but everybody we called said there are no vaccines available. We finally got a text back from one place with an appointment date and time.”
Havasu resident Dale Quinn is still waiting to be seen by a vaccine provider.
“My wife and I (ages 71 and 75) cannot get an appointment anywhere,” Quinn said. “Everybody says their appointments are full, and there’s no vaccine. We’re tired of the BS, and we’ll wait and see if we catch it.”
For some Havasu residents, the shortage in vaccines and appointment availability gave way to frustration this week.
“The county can’t even accommodate the 28,000 people in our community who are ages 75 and older,” said Jodey Grant. “And now they’re adding the 37,000 people who are 65 and older. It doesn’t make much sense.”
At Havasu Regional Medical Center, overwhelming demand has forced the hospital to decline any additional vaccine registration forms this week. Registration will reopen after the hospital has distributed vaccine doses to those who have already scheduled appointments. Until then, hospital officials advise the public to continue to follow CDC recommended guidelines for avoiding contact with the coronavirus.
Vaccination efforts began in December throughout Mohave County, with providers offering vaccinations to residents ages 75 and older, as well as medical professionals and first responders. Many of those residence have only yet received the first of their two required doses of the vaccine.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 18,606 Mohave County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, with 530 deaths reported. County health officials reported 57 new cases throughout Mohave County on Wednesday, with nine new deaths. Of those new cases, 15 cases and one death were reported in Havasu.
County officials this week asked for patience as vaccination efforts continue, and efforts are being made to expand vaccination efforts throughout Mohave County in the near future. As of Wednesday, 21,212 out of 28,700 doses of the vaccine have been distributed to county residents, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
As of Wednesday, Mohave County maintained the second-lowest rate of vaccination in Arizona, ahead of only Apache County.