In a push for more equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health collaborated with the University of Arizona Health Sciences to implement a pilot vaccine distribution program on Feb. 8, 2021, at El Mirage Senior Village, a public housing complex in the primarily Spanish-speaking city of El Mirage in the Phoenix metro area. The team tested the registration and distribution process, and trained students at the College of Medicine – Phoenix and the College of Pharmacy in Phoenix to administer vaccines.
The larger force behind this pilot program was the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health’s well-established Primary Prevention Mobile Health Unit (MHU) program, which was brought to the Phoenix campus in 2016 by Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS, associate dean of community engagement and outreach – Phoenix programs.
Maricopa County has worked with the MHUs before, and county health officials say they recognize that the team has nurtured strong relationships and trust in the communities they serve. Officials say they hope to expand the program to make vaccine distribution in Maricopa County more equitable.