WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva led Arizona House Democrats Reps. Ruben Gallego, Tom O’Halleran, and Ann Kirkpatrick in a letter to President Joe Biden and COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator Jeff Zients urging them to consider sending additional vaccines to Arizona and assess current state operations to combat COVID-19.
“It has been brought to our attention that the Governor recently requested an infusion of 300,000 additional vaccine doses, followed with an additional 300,000 per week to Arizona,” the lawmakers wrote. “We support this request and ask that several unique conditions in Arizona be considered in approving the state’s request. Arizona has one of the fastest growing populations in the nation with high transitional and seasonal populations. During winter months, many part-time residents, that are not accounted for in population totals but are likely seeking vaccines in our communities, live in Arizona. The border region includes a large seasonal workforce that must be immunized to carry out essential duties, including those critical to the nation’s food supply.”
In early January, Arizona was named the ‘hotspot of the world’ for COVID-19, with the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases, high numbers of hospitalizations, and above average death rates. The state has failed to release data on age, race, and ethnicity on those receiving the vaccines, making it impossible to ensure vaccine equity. Additionally, the Arizona Department of Health vaccine registration does not provide accessible information in Spanish, effectively excluding numerous individuals that may be eligible for the vaccine.
“We ask that the COVID task force take an active role in assessing problems with the state’s operations and actively work to provide oversight to ensure Arizona is effectively adopting federal guidance for equitable distribution of vaccinations,” the lawmakers continued. “We ask the federal response include staffing, infrastructure, and logistical support to compensate for shortcomings of the state response, particularly in rural and hard to reach areas.”
Click here to read the letter.