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Pima County opening COVID vaccinations to all ages 16-plus

Everyone aged 16 and up will be able to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine at a Pima County site starting next week. While the number of vaccinations provided exceeded expectations last month, coronavirus continues to spread, with more infections and deaths reported.

Pima County officials have called the push to get more shots to more people as the threat of more-deadly COVID variants looms as an "arms race."

The move means that the county will on Monday begin accepting registrations at its vaccine clinics for any resident 16 or older. Pima sites had been open to everyone age 55 and older, and essential workers and people with high-risk medical conditions of any age, for the past week. The state-run site at the University of Arizona began making slots available for all ages last week.

"We have made great progress in vaccinating those groups and are continuing our efforts to ensure that vulnerable and at-risk populations have access to the vaccine as well," said Dr. Theresa Cullen, director of the Pima County Health Department. "With vaccine availability increasing in the county, it's the right time to expand and have the same eligibility requirements no matter where you want to get your shot."

Pima County had set a goal of 300,000 vaccinations by the end of March. More than 472,000 doses have been provided thus far.

There were 940 new cases of infected Arizonans reported Friday, with 12 new deaths reported. That followed 381 new reported cases Thursday, when there were 10 more deaths added to the toll.

Nearly 17,000 state residents have died from coronavirus in the past year, with more than 840,000 diagnosed cases. There have been 112,000 cases and 2,355 deaths in Pima County — with 5 additional deaths from coronavirus reported Friday.

Not all vaccine sites will provide a shot to teenagers, despite the county's expansion of eligibility. Only the Pfizer vaccine, which is used at the Banner South and UA sites and potentially some pharmacies, is approved for use for those under age 18.

From Pima County:

The County, which is supporting three large vaccination sites at Banner-South Kino Stadium, Tucson Medical Center and the Tucson Convention Center, will add a smaller Point of Distribution (POD) at El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, starting Monday, April 5. This will be a walk-in POD with on-site registration. In addition, on-site registration also is available at the Tucson Convention Center.

The site at El Pueblo will operate from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, starting with an allotment of 600 doses on April 5. This site will be operated by Premier Medical Group (PMG), which is also operating mobile events that target hard-to-reach and underserved areas. ...

Those under 18 who are getting vaccinated need a parent or legal guardian with them to complete the consent forms. The only exception is if an accompanying adult brings a notarized letter stating that the parent allows the accompanying adult to complete the consent forms.

For all of the registration options in Pima County, visit the COVID-19 vaccine information page at www.pima.gov/covid19vaccine.

For questions about registration or help with the registration process, you can also call the Pima County Health Department’s registration support line at 520-222-0119, Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Vaccinations at Tucson Medical Center on Jan. 15, 2021.