COVID-19 vaccine
Photo by Cindy Shebley (CC BY 2.0)

UPDATE, Dec. 21, 5:17 p.m.

Pinal County Public Health announced Monday that a small number of its community partners have received shipment of COVID-19 Moderna vaccine for vaccination of 1a Group members  – health care professionals. Shipments to the county will continue Tuesday and Wednesday until the maximum allotment for this first order of 10,000 is reached.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Arizona was allocated 119,400 doses of the initial allocation of the vaccine this week, which includes an unspecified “Sovereign Nation Supplement” for American Indian/Alaskan Native populations that elected to receive vaccines through the state instead of Indian Health Service.

12/21/20: Public Health is excited to announce a small number of our community partners have received their shipment of COVID-19 Moderna vaccine for vaccination of the 1a group, healthcare professionals.

Healthcare professionals will receive notification when vaccinations begin. Long term care residents will be vaccinated through a federal program that is in place. The second allotment of vaccine may be available for ordering the first week of January; however, the date and amount allowed has not yet been provided to us.

According to the CDC, weekly allocations are provided to states on Tuesdays. After doses are ordered by states, shipments begin the following Monday, but the entire order may not arrive in one shipment or on one day, but over the course of the week. Delivery sites are notified by the private shipping partners.

The next two groups currently slated to get the vaccine are the 1b Group, composed of Essential Workers & Infrastructure, including law enforcement, corrections officers, education sector, food & agriculture, utilities and transportation; and the 1c Group, composed of adults with high-risk medical conditions and adults 65 years and older.


The Food and Drug Administration late Friday afternoon granted Emergency Use Authorization to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the brand of vaccine allocated to Pinal County.

A week ago, the FDA gave similar authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Officials expect the Moderna vaccine to arrive in Pinal County on Monday, Dec. 21 or Tuesday, Dec. 22, with vaccinations likely to begin Wednesday, Dec. 23. The county was permitted to order 10,000 doses, which will be divided among Public Health and 15 community partners who will act as one collective group for county vaccination efforts, the department said.

Pinal County has been receiving a large number of calls regarding distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a notice on the county web site.

Maricopa and Pima counties have received their first allocations of the vaccine.

Health care workers in Pinal County will get the vaccine first. They will get a link to register for a vaccine with additional instructions, the department said. More information will follow on the vaccinations of other groups identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The community partner locations have not been released publicly, in part due to security protocols.

Long-term care residents will be vaccinated through a separate federal program already in place, the department said.

The Moderna vaccine contains messenger RNA (mRNA), which is genetic material. According to the FDA, the vaccine contains a small piece of the COVID-19 virus’s mRNA that instructs cells in the body to make the virus’s distinctive “spike” protein. After a person receives the vaccine, their body produces copies of the spike protein, which does not cause disease, but triggers the immune system to learn to react defensively, producing an immune response against coronavirus.

The vaccine requires two doses, 28 days apart for effectiveness. The most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever, the FDA said. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.