COVID-19 Vaccine

Desert Ridge Family Physicians is committed to continuing to provide superior care to you and your family throughout the pandemic.  Your well-being and safety, as well as that of our entire community, is our highest priority.

As the COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out, you may have questions.  This page is intended to share the information that we have.  As we are in the midst of the largest and fastest vaccination effort in history, information changes almost daily.  We will work to keep you updated with the most up to date information as it is provided to us.

How is Arizona managing the vaccine roll out?

At this time, there are two vaccines available.  Both are mRNA vaccines, one made by Pfizer and the other by Moderna. Both require two doses and they are NOT interchangeable.

Currently, vaccines are being distributed by the state and counties through a phased approach which is outlined on their website. 

Maricopa County is currently in the early stage of Phase 1B.  Persons eligible to receive a COVID vaccine are: 

  • Healthcare workers and EMS 
  • Long term care facility staff and residents 
  • Teachers and childcare providers (contact your employer for specific details and schedule ) 
  • Law enforcement ((contact your employer for specific details and schedule ) 
  • Adults ages 75 and older 


Outlined below is the overview of vaccine prioritization 

Phase 1A

Phase 1A began in December 2020.  Healthcare workers, emergency medical services workers and long-term care facility staff & residents have begun to receive COVID-19 vaccines.  As of January 13, more than 96,000 doses have been given in Maricopa County.  Vaccinations thus far have been provided at 5 POD sites (Points of Dispensing) throughout the valley.  These sites have the capacity, both physical space and staff, to administer vaccine to almost 1500 people each day.

Phase 1B

Phase 1B began on January 11.  The following groups are being prioritized to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at this time:

  • Adults age 75 and older
  • Education and Childcare workers
  • Law enforcement and protective services

Adults with high-risk medical conditions, living in congregate settings will follow.

Vaccines are being administered at the POD sites currently .  In addition, large groups such as school districts and police departments are working directly with the county and their partners to coordinate vaccine for their eligible employees.

Desert Ridge Family Physicians is not currently designated to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations during Phase 1B.  We are working with the county to be able to administer COVID vaccines out of our clinic.  Once we are able to administer vaccine at our clinic, we will be required to abide by the Maricopa County criteria for eligibility. We anticipate being able to offer the vaccine to our qualified patients in early March.  Once we are able to administer vaccine from our clinic, we will notify our patients who meet the county criteria by email as well as posting on our website 

Alternatively, you may register and schedule through the county or state to receive the vaccine at one of their PODs (point of distribution). 

Temporary Residents, such as winter visitors, will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Maricopa County if all other requirements are met.

Phase 1C

Phase 1C is anticipated to begin in March, possibly sooner.  The following groups will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Maricopa County during this phase:

  • Adults age 65 and older
  • Adults of any age with high-risk medical conditions

Community physician offices and pharmacies are expecting to assist with the vaccination effort beginning in Phase 1C.

Desert Ridge Family Physicians has been approved to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines once the county begins allocation to community physician office.  We are working to set up the necessary infrastructure to support a smooth and organized process.

Phase 2

Phase 2 will follow Phase 1C, and is anticipated to begin in the Spring 2021.  The following groups will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Maricopa County during this phase:

  • Other high risk groups not yet vaccinated
  • General adult population

By this time, it is expected that vaccine supply will be greater and community physician offices will assist with the vaccination effort.

Is there a list I can get on to reserve a COVID-19 vaccine for myself or family member?2021-01-13T19:58:27-07:00

No, there is no waiting or priority list at this time.

Who should get a COVID-19 vaccine?2021-01-20T18:48:16-07:00

Desert Ridge Family Physicians recommends all eligible patients get vaccinated against COVID-19,  as the vaccines become available.  While masking and social distancing remain imperitive, getting vaccinated will not only protect you from getting sick but also serve to reduce the spread within our community.  Vaccine trials demonstrated the vaccines to be >95% effective at preventing mild or severe COVID infection.  The more people who receive the vaccine, the more lives will be saved and the closer we are to ending this pandemic.

Vaccines are only offered to adults ages 18 and older.  Although the Pfizer vaccine has EUA for those 16 and older, it is not yet been administered to those younger than 18 outside of the vaccine trial. The Moderna vaccine has EUA for those 18 and older

Who should NOT get a COVID-19 Vaccine?2021-01-13T19:26:10-07:00

Persons with a history of severe allergic reaction to mRNA vaccines or a component of mRNA vaccines including polysorbate and polyethyline glycol should not get an mRNA vaccine.  Those with a history of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to injectibles or other vaccines should discuss the vaccination with their doctor.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?2021-01-13T19:26:45-07:00

In the U.S., all vaccines must pass FDA safety standards in order to gain approval for use. This infographic illustrates phases a vaccine must go through before it is approved for use.

Data from the large clinical trials demonstrate that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID 19 .  Both the Pfizer and Moderna trials are ongoing and the CDC and FDA continue to monitor and review both safety as well as efficacy data.

What about allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines?2021-01-13T19:27:14-07:00

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System reports that after the first 1,893,360 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, 21 cases of anaphylaxis were reported.  This calculates to 11 cases per 1 million doses.   Currently, the CDC says people with allergies to certain foods, insects, latex and other common allergens can have the COVID-19 vaccine. Those with a history of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to injectables or other vaccines should discuss the vaccination with their doctor.  However, any person who had an anaphylactic reaction to any of the ingredients in the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine should not receive these vaccines.

Are there any side effects to the COVID-19 vaccines?2021-01-20T18:49:39-07:00

Vaccine side effects are expected,  temporary (lasting less than 48 hours) and mild to moderate.

  • Vaccine side effects include injection site soreness and/or swelling, fatigue, headache, body aches, and/or fever.  These symptoms indicate your immune system has recognized the vaccine and has begun to build immunity.
  • Symptoms such as sore throat, congestion, cough, loss of taste/smell or shortness of breath are NOT vaccine related side effects.  If you develop symptoms such as these, please schedule a telehealth visit with your PCP for further evaluation.
Will the side effects impact my daily routines?2021-01-13T19:28:10-07:00

Because of the potential of mild side effects, you may want to receive your vaccine at a time when you can take it easy that day and the day following, if necessary.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines a single dose or series?2021-01-13T19:29:05-07:00

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses and they are not interchangeable.  If you receive the Pfizer vaccine as your first dose, you must receive the Pfizer vaccine for your second dose.  The Pfizer vaccine doses are spaced at least 21 days apart.  The Moderna vaccine doses are spaced 28 days apart.  You do not have to receive the 2nd dose at exactly that interval,  just as long as it has been at least 21 days since your first dose of Pfizer or 28 days since your first dose of Moderna.

Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I recently tested positive for COVID, or am in quarantine due to exposure to COVID?2021-01-13T19:32:40-07:00

You should wait until the infection has resolved and you have met the criteria to discontinue isolation or quarantine.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma?2021-01-13T19:33:59-07:00

The recommendation is to wait 90 days after receipt of monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other immunizations? (flu shot, Shingrix, etc)2021-01-13T19:36:19-07:00

No, you should maintain an interval of at least 14 days between the COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccines.

Can I get a COVID-19 Vaccine if I am pregnant or nursing?2021-01-13T19:37:51-07:00

Data is limited with regards to persons who are pregnant or nursing at this time, there is no data to suggest any safety issues.

Will an antibody blood test tell me if I am immune or if the vaccine worked?2021-01-13T19:39:47-07:00

No.  Our immune system will produce hundreds of antibodies to both the vaccine as well as the virus if infected.  We do not yet know if the presence of antibodies indicates immunity nor if they do, what amount (titer) is required to be protective.

Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I already had COVID?2021-01-13T19:40:38-07:00

Yes.  It is unclear how long persons are protected from re-infection after natural infection.  So far, data suggests that vaccine mediated immunity is more robust than immunity conferred through natural infection.

Does a COVID-19 vaccine cost me anything?2021-01-13T19:43:23-07:00

The vaccine itself is being paid for by the government.  Organizations administering the vaccine will bill a small administrative fee to your insurance company to help cover the costs incurred to staff, store and administer the vaccine.  There is no out of pocket cost to you.