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Spectrum vaccinating health-care workers; won’t mandate shots

Spectrum Healthcare has received 1,800 Moderna vaccine doses from Yavapai County Community Health Services to administer to front-line healthcare workers. VVN file photo

Spectrum Healthcare has received 1,800 Moderna vaccine doses from Yavapai County Community Health Services to administer to front-line healthcare workers. VVN file photo

COTTONWOOD - Spectrum Healthcare Group is conducting COVID-19 vaccine clinics on Saturdays, but the local behavioral-health and primary-care provider said they do not plan to mandate the COVID-19 vaccination to its staff.

Spectrum Healthcare has received 1,800 Moderna vaccine doses from Yavapai County Community Health Services to administer to front-line healthcare workers, explained Sunshine Dean, BSN, RN, vice president of Integration Spectrum Healthcare Group.

Dean said Spectrum has begun vaccinating healthcare and EMT workers now and will work its way through the different phases.

“We do not plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccination to our staff, as we know this is a personal health decision everyone must make for themselves,” Dean said.

Many of our front-line employees did choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine, she pointed out.

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday estimated that between 70% and 85% of the United States will need to be vaccinated to achieve “herd immunity.”

About 21.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the United States, but only 5.9 million people have received their first doses as of Thursday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s behind what officials had hoped for and means herd immunity is also further away.

Spectrum is an integrated health-care facility and wants to ensure the wellness of the local community, mind and body, Dean said.

To that end, Spectrum will be offering vaccine to anyone who falls into the current phase through clinics on Saturdays, she explained.

“Following AzDHS and CDC guidelines, we have started by vaccinating healthcare workers and EMT workers now and will work our way through the phases.”

People can go to the Spectrum website for more information about who qualifies for a COVID shot and how to make an appointment at spectrumhealthcare-group.com .

Spectrum is also providing COVID-19 viral and antibody testing by appointment on its website. 

Spectrum, as well as Northern Arizona Healthcare, has been working closely with YCCHS to be a point of distribution for the COVID-19 vaccine across Yavapai County.

YCCHS has also begun administering COVID-19 vaccinations now, according to spokesperson Terri Farneti. YCCHS is training nurses and emergency medical teams to assist and be prepared for the next phases of COVID-19 shots.  

YCCHS is receiving hundreds of calls each day from residents asking when they can receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

It depends on your health status, age and work. It also depends on the amount of vaccine received in accomplishing the first phase — called Phase 1A — which is already underway for frontline health care workers and nursing home residents.

Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) anticipates moving into the next prioritized phase, called 1B, in mid-to late-January statewide.

Some counties may move into this phase earlier.

Arizonans 75 and older are now prioritized to be included in this second 1B phase, which also includes frontline essential workers such as firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.

Details on how to register for the vaccine and exactly when Phase1B will start have not yet been released.

The third phase, called 1C, includes people aged 65 to 74 years because they too are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19; people aged 16 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19; and other essential workers, such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.

According to YCCHS, enough vaccine could be available for the rest of the population by late spring, but summer or even fall 2021 is more likely

The Prescott Daily Courier contributed to this report.

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