Guest Editorial: Not Enough For Everybody

Local from Quartzite say Snowbirds are taking vaccines from residents in need

By Valley Girl

As the seasons change, the winter breeze is a sign that Arizona is going to be visited by more Snowbirds. Last year, Arizona saw a decline in winter visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the recent distribution of the vaccine, the state is experiencing an influx of visitors. As states begin to open back up, businesses allowed to operate at full capacity and the prospect of traveling has become less concerning, many residents have become concerned with the limited resources available to full-time Arizona residents – especially those living in rural areas like Quartzite.

In Arizona, it is not required for a person to be a permanent resident in order to be vaccinated within the state. Vocalizing their concern, locals say that snowbirds are taking vaccines from locals, especially the elderly community, that desperately need it. With a year-round population of around 4,000 people, winter visitors increase the population to 2 million visitors each year. This amount is concerning especially with the limited vaccines available.

Although Arizona has slowly begun widening restrictions allowing more residents to receive the vaccine, scarcity is a cause for alarm. As we’ve seen over the past few months, the plans and procedures behind the vaccine roll-out plan have been anything from perfect. Between long wait times, limited availability for both appointments and vaccines – it can be a daunting and overwhelming process, especially when it comes to rural parts of the state that are already struggling to receive and distribute the vaccine to their communities. The process shouldn’t be made more complicated by deciphering between full-time residents and seasonal residents.