President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took a virtual tour Monday of a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Cardinals Stadium in Glendale. Gov. Doug Ducey has touted the facility as a model for effective mass vaccination. But Arizona still lags in distribution, especially in underserved communities.
During the virtual tour, Vice President Harris asked Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ how the state is addressing barriers to vaccination. Language barriers, along with lack of access to transportation and technology, have surfaced as roadblocks in the rollout nationwide.
“What kind of outreach are you doing?” Harris asked.
“So, this is just one portion of our state vaccination plan,” Christ said. “We are looking to partner with community leaders to put community-based PODs in some of those hard-to-reach and targeted ZIP codes.”
PODs, or points of dispensing, are vaccination sites.
Dr. Christ has not officially announced a plan targeting those areas, but says she’ll release more information in “coming days and weeks."
Arizona has not recorded the race or ethnicity of more than a third of those who’ve been vaccinated statewide. As of Thursday, the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard identified 36.7% of vaccinated individuals as “other race/unknown.”
That can make it more difficult to determine which communities are underrepresented in the process, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Thursday morning, 811,023 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to state officials — just over 11% of the state’s estimated population.