‘It’s just a shame to waste it’: Some of Arizona’s COVID-19 supply will expire in June

Rodrigo Valenzuela-Cordova (left), a health educator with the University of Arizona, scribes for a nursing student as she vaccinates a truck driver inside the Mexican Consulate in Nogales./Courtesy of Sheila Soto

By Rafael Carranza, Stephanie Innes |Arizona Republic

COVID-19 vaccine outreach is increasing in the Arizona-Mexico border area in an effort to use up doses before they expire in June.

There’s waning demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona. Also, a 10-day pause on administration of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine in April because of safety concerns has fueled an excess vaccine supply.

Health care providers, in partnership with binational government entities, are working on getting the COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable groups along the international border before doses expire. Those groups include temporary agricultural workers and Mexican truck drivers who often cross the border several times a day.

Still, some doses may go to waste.

“It’s no secret that demand has slowed in recent weeks, and ADHS (the Arizona Department of Health Services) and counties have worked to get allocated vaccine into arms as much as possible and to get more vaccine to doctors’ offices and other neighborhood providers,” state health department spokesperson Steve Elliott wrote in an email.

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