Graham County has the second-worst COVID-19 vaccination rate in the state

Photo By Jacqueline Marshall/Wyoming National Guard: Graham County has only vaccinated 27.4 percent of its residents for COVID-19, which is the second-lowest percentage of any county in the state.

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

GRAHAM COUNTY – Despite two COVID-19 vaccinations being widely available and free, Graham County has the second-worst vaccination rate for the coronavirus in the state, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).

As of Wednesday, ADHS shows Graham County has vaccinated only 27.4 percent of its residents – which equates to 21,361 doses of vaccine administered. That is the second-lowest rate in the state, only higher than Apache County, which has administered 22,004 doses as a county for a total of 17.2 percent of its residents being vaccinated. The numbers from ADHS do not include state or federal vaccination sites. Anyone 18 or older can receive a free COVID-19 vaccination in Graham County simply by calling the health department at (928) 428-0110 and vaccinations are also offered at other sites, such as Safeway. 

Graham County reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the ADHS, for a total of 5,601 cases for the pandemic, with 85 deaths and 23 currently active cases. Graham County counts cases as active for 30 days after the initial confirmation test.

Greenlee County, which has a vaccination rate of 44.8 percent and has administered 8,228 doses, has recently seen an influx of new cases. Greenlee County also reported three new cases on Wednesday, to bring its total to 591 for the course of the pandemic, with 10 deaths and 10 currently active cases.

Santa Cruz County is leading the way for Arizona, with a vaccination rate of 65.8 percent and 63,537 doses administered.

However, Graham County’s numbers increase when federal and state accounting is included. Graham County has two state-run prisons and one federal prison that performed vaccinations on the inmates administered by state and federal authorities. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, Graham County’s fully vaccinated population is 43.9 percent, with 58.7 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated, and 88.7 percent of those who are 65 years old or older. That population includes inmates in the prisons.

For Greenlee County, the federal numbers are actually worse, with just 31.1 percent of the total population fully vaccinated, including 42.2 percent of the adult population, and 64.3 percent of those who are 65 years old or older.

The Delta variant of COVID-19, which was first discovered in India – a country that has been devastated by the disease – is more infectious than other iterations and now makes up the majority of U.S. cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The available vaccines are still effective against the Delta variant, however, places lacking those who are vaccinated are seeing cases rise again. The best way to protect oneself against the Delta variant and COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, according to health experts. 

The state of Arizona lists a vaccination rate of roughly 50 percent, and the United States has nearly 70 percent of all adults being vaccinated but only an average of 47.5 percent for the total population.

Anyone 18 or older can receive a free COVID-19 vaccination in Graham County simply by calling the health department at (928) 428-0110 and vaccinations are also offered at other sites, such as Safeway. 

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