Local health authorities said Thursday that they are expanding Santa Cruz County’s COVID-19 vaccination effort to include all adults 18 and older who reside or are employed in the county.
As part of the expansion, the county is abandoning its existing online pre-registration system, in which people entered their information into a database and waited for a call for an appointment.
Instead, beginning at noon on Friday, April 2, local residents and workers 18 or older will use a new online system to schedule their own appointment for the week beginning Monday, April 5, the county said in a news release.
Going forward, appointments will become available every Friday at noon for the following week.
“The number of vaccines received each week will determine the number of appointments that will be available,” the county news release said.
Registrants will be required to enter their name, date of birth, phone number, physical address and email address to make an appointment. They’ll then need to bring proof of local residency or employment to their vaccination appointment.
While the county says it’s hoping most people will register through the new online system, a number of appointment slots will be set aside for residents to reserve over the phone. Those slots are aimed at people without internet access or those in vaccine priority groups that still haven’t received an appointment.
The phone number is (520) 375-7626 and it’s available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Jeff Terrell, the county’s health services director, said on Thursday that his department has tried to reach everyone who pre-registered for a vaccine appointment through the previous system on the county’s website. However, eligible people who pre-registered and haven’t been contacted yet can call the health department directly to schedule an appointment, he said.
The county’s change in policy follows an announcement from the Arizona Department of Health Services last week that it would allow any Arizona resident 16 or older to be inoculated against COVID-19 at state-run vaccination centers in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma counties.
Some sites in those counties offer the Pfizer-made vaccine, which has been approved for use in people 16 and older. Santa Cruz County has so far been receiving only Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which are approved for people 18 and older.