COVID vaccine to be available to those 12 and older

- David Bell Graph/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — A new group of Gila Valley residents will soon be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

“Children ages . . . 12 years of age and older, beginning Aug. 12, will be able to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” said Brian Douglas, Graham County Health Department director.

The youth vaccinations will be available for free at the county’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Safford’s Main Street, on Thursdays and Fridays, from 5-7 p.m.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported COVID-19 cases in youths in the country climbed by 86 percent by the last week of July, and youths accounted for 19 percent of the all the new cases in the country from July 23-29.

Arizona also has the second highest child mortality rate from COVID-19 in the nation, at 34 deaths of persons age 0-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Graham County youths under the age of 20 have had the third-highest rate of coronavirus infection since the start of the pandemic. The greatest number of cases has been in young adults age 20-44, at 2,811, which is 49.2 percent of the county’s total number of cases.

Second most is adults 45-54 at 853 cases, followed by youths under 20 at 827 cases.

The number of vaccinated in Graham County is on the rise, with the Arizona Department of Health Services reporting 11,369 Gila Valley residents having received the one-dose or two-dose vaccination.

Meanwhile, the Graham County Health Department reported eight new cases Thursday, with five located in the 85546 zip code, one in 85552 and location of the remainder has not yet been determined.