Maricopa vaccine clinic

About 400 people received a COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday at Copper Sky in Maricopa.

FLORENCE — Pharmacies at Fry's and Safeway grocery stores in Pinal County will soon be administering COVID-19 vaccinations to the general public, health officials said.

Last week the county only received 3,500 first doses but has requested more, Pinal County Health Director Tascha Spears said.

However, she said there is a federal retail pharmacy program tentatively scheduled to start in February in which 59 Fry's and Safeways in Arizona will be participating, including some stores in Pinal County.

Spears said the pharmacies administering the vaccine will be listed at www.azhealth.gov/findvaccine. The sites in Pinal County aren't known at this time, but Spears said they will be listed on the county's health website once they are available.

Spears also said in a newsletter Sunday that those who were vaccinated at the state's State Farm Stadium site and did not get an appointment for their second dose can schedule dose No. 2 at the state registration site.

Three COVID-19 vaccines have made their way through trials in the United States since December. Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna passed testing standards set by the federal Food and Drug Administration with the hope that millions will be distributed across the country in the coming months. The third vaccine, from AstraZeneca, is in the final stage of clinical trials.

All the Pinal County sites will be administering the Moderna vaccine, while the State Farm Stadium site is administering the Pfizer vaccine.

Although all three have been held to the same rigorous standards, each vaccine is different in makeup and how it fights the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines need to be kept at very low temperatures, while the AstraZeneca vaccine can last up to six months if stored in 38- to 46-degree temperatures. All three require a second dose several weeks later for maximum protection.

The efficacy of the vaccines also varies. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been more than 90% effective in protecting against the coronavirus in clinical trials. AstraZeneca’s, however, was at 62% in its second dose during trials.

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Cronkite News contributed to this story.

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