About 10 percent of Arizonans have received the COVID-19 vaccine as of early February. As state and county health leaders look to ramp up distribution, we got a better understanding of what protocols people should follow even after being vaccinated from Dr. Joe Gerald, a health services researcher at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He addressed whether those vaccinated should still adhere to the CDC’s safety guidelines and if they should still take a COVID-19 test if they feel unwell.
Getting the vaccine to those prioritized by the state amid high demand and low supply has raised questions about equitability in the distribution process. We discussed some of the challenges with ensuring fairness with Dr. David Beyda, chair and professor with the Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix.
Groups currently eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine include adults 65 and older. They account for nearly 20% of Arizona’s population. In some cases, they face the same digital divides as children and at-home learners. The Pima Council on Aging is one organization helping older adults overcome technological barriers that can prevent them from scheduling their shots. CEO and President W. Mark Clark discussed ways the PCOA is connecting senior Arizonans to the necessary resources.
The pandemic’s health and financial impacts are especially difficult for those living in poverty, including those experiencing homelessness in Tucson. As the crisis continues more people are pushed into extremely dire circumstances. We heard from leaders and volunteers with local nonprofits that are doing what they can to help others.
At downtown Tucson’s Z Mansion, volunteers with the WORKship project assemble seven days a week to provide a warm meal to go for people living on the street. The nonprofit also provides blankets, clothing and first aid to those in need.
For more information about how to volunteer or make a donation to the WORKship project, click here.
The Primavera Foundation offers a variety of services that include helping people secure affordable housing and work toward financial stability. During the pandemic, the nonprofit has seen demand grow for its eviction prevention and utility assistance services.
For more information about services offered by the Primavera Foundation, click here.
Arizona Superintendent Kathy Hoffman’s annual State of Education address focused largely on the pandemic’s impact on public education. She told members of the State Senate Education Committee that students are at the center of the crisis and called on lawmakers to deliver more funding to schools. We discussed Hoffman’s hopes for this legislative session and factors that continue to keep students out of the classroom with Arizona Daily Star education reporter Danyelle Khmara.