The Maricopa County (Arizona) Health Department began administering COVID-19 vaccine in late December. Maricopa County has the bulk of the state’s 7.42 million population, and Phoenix with it’s 30-plus suburban communities comprises 99% of Maricopa’s 4,568,240 residents. Arizona attracts a lot of retirees, many of whom become permanent residents, and has snowbirds galore. These facts translate into a very large number of people who could potentially receive COVID-19 vaccine(s).

As I mentioned, the Maricopa County Health Department is responsible for distribution and administration of the vaccine, and has devised a step-wise plan that prioritizes high risk groups first, and lower risk populations later. The plan has three phases (1, 2, 3).

PHASE ONE: December 2020 to Spring 2021

Sub-phases: 1A, 1B, 1C

PHASE TWO: Spring 2021 to Summer 2021

PHASE THREE: Summer 2021 to beyond

The important group, of course, is the one you’re in. Sandy and I are in Group 1B.

Who falls into these categories?


Healthcare Workers

Emergency Medical Services Workers

Long-term care Facility Staff & Residents


Education and Childcare Providers

Law Enforcement/Protective Services

Adults Age 75 and Older**

Adults Living in Congregate Settings

Other Essential Workers-utility employees, food and agriculture workers, transport workers


Adults 65 and older

Adults of Any Age with High-Risk Medical Conditions

Phases two and three are catch-up time for those who missed their first opportunity and the time to vaccinate other high risk populations and everyone else.

Beginning at 6:00 am on Monday, January 11, appointments for Group 1B became available. Appointment scheduling was done online so you can imagine there were a lot of old folks, like me, who got up earlier than usual to log on to the health department website. Actually, I logged on to and followed the prompts.

I had learned a few days ago that the computer system did not “support” all browsers, and only three browsers could be used for scheduling. Supposedly, also, desktop or laptop computers were the only devices capable of scheduling appointments, and tablets (iPad) and mobile devices could not be used. Since I have only an iPad, I took a chance and downloaded one of the preferred browsers, Firefox, and hoped it would work. Luckily it did.

At 6 am I logged on to I navigated to the “Age 75 and Older” prompt and here things came to a halt—for an hour! It could have been worse, I suppose, but it’s 6 o’clock and I should still be in bed. I “refreshed” the screen several times, each time fearing my iPad would throw me out, and I’d have to start all over.

Finally, the prompt to schedule an appointment appeared, and I proceeded on. I registered my demographics, answered several pertinent questions, and then was given appointment availability options. Of course the health department didn’t show me the first available appointment date. Oh, no, that would be too easy. Instead, I had to choose a date to see if there were any available times. Choosing the 11th was ridiculous so I started with the 16th. Oops! No appts. Then the 18th, the 23rd, the 25th, and finally on the 26th there were slots open. They divided the day into morning, mid-day, and evening segments. I chose mid-day.

Appt. slots were in 5 minute increments and each time slot had several openings. I chose 13:36 (1:36 pm) because there were 11 slots open at that time. I, also, needed to make an appt. for Sandy, so I chose a time that had many available slots, hoping we could go at the same time. I ok’d the time, answered 3 more questions, then confirmed the appointment. Thankfully, I received an email confirming my appointment. So much for my iPad not working because it did just fine.

I repeated the entire logon, registration, question and answer session process for Sandy, and fortunately, 13:36 pm was still available when I chose a time. The curious thing is only two administration sites in the whole county were offered—one in Goodyear, AZ and the other in Chandler, AZ. Both are a 50-60 minute drive from our home. There were no locations offered in Scottsdale, north Phoenix, Sun City, or anywhere else. Why is that? Were they trying to fill these far away slots first with the nuts like me who got up early to be sure to get an appointment? Who knows. At least we’ll get the vaccine.

In the question section I was asked if I had insurance. I have Medicare, so they asked for my Medicare number, for reasons unclear to me.

Other folks had similar problems logging on, gaining access to the scheduling section, and getting a location close to home. One person who had trouble connecting, asked her daughter in another city to log on using her computers. She had two computers and had trouble connecting on both. One man’s appointment was scheduled for the parking lot of State Farm stadium in Glendale, nowhere near his home in Cave Creek, and another man couldn’t get an appointment until April 3rd. GEE!

I have nothing to complain about, though. Waiting an hour to receive a life-saving vaccine for free is a small price to pay. After all, I can make up for lost sleep with a nap later. If this vaccine makes the world normal again, I’ll drive anywhere to get it. I don’t care. Only time will tell, though.

On January 26th I’ll write about my experience after receiving the shot. Hopefully, I won’t have any adverse effects to report. That should be an interesting experience.

Reference: HTTPS://

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