The coronavirus vaccine will be available to health care workers in Maricopa County beginning Dec. 17, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

The vaccine will be distributed at several points of dispensing—dubbed PODs by public health officials—including a site at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

In Phase 1A of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, doses of the vaccine will be distributed to eligible health care personnel at five regional PODs across the county in conjunction with Abrazo Health, Banner Health, Dignity Health, HonorHealth, Mayo Clinic and Valleywise Healthcare.

“By setting up practice PODs and refining our processes for how to get people through quickly, we have laid the groundwork for success for the upcoming distribution of COVID-19 vaccine,” said Marcy Flanagan, executive director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, in a news release.

As of Dec. 16, more than 27,000 health care workers have completed the prescreening, according to the county. County health officials noted that it will not be until summer when the general public can get vaccinated.

“Right now, vaccine doses are limited and only select groups are eligible. PODs are the most efficient way to get large numbers of health care workers and EMS personnel vaccinated quickly,” Flanagan said in the release. “Eventually, we hope people will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine much like they would the flu vaccine, at a doctor’s office or pharmacy."

Flanagan asked that since it will take time to get more people vaccinated, that the public continue COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“In the meantime, we all need to continue practicing preventive measures such as social distancing, mask wearing, staying home when sick, and limiting close contact with people who do not live with us," Flanagan said in the release.