Getting a leg up on everyone else in his age group, Gov. Doug Ducey got his first dose of the Covid vaccine on Tuesday morning.
But his press aide insists he wasn’t jumping the line.
In an unannounced event, the governor got Dr. Cara Christ, the state health director, to administer the shot at State Farm Stadium. That is one of the state-run sites for inoculations.
Only later did his office put out a release, video and photos of the event. That included an explanation that, at age 56, he was now eligible.
And that followed the announcement Monday by Christ that the process is now open to anyone age 55 and older.
What the governor’s release did not say is that when Christ announced the change on Monday she said that no one could sign up to even get an appointment before noon. Ducey’s release came more than an hour before that.
And even then, anyone who did manage to get through the state registration system would not be scheduled until at least Thursday — if not later — with only about 50,000 doses available to the 55-plus crowd.
So was Ducey taking advantage of his position?
“The governor did not jump the line,” said Ducey publicist C.J. Karamargin. Instead, he said, the goal was to create a public service video.
“We had a message to get out about the importance of getting the vaccine, that we were opening up to a category that includes a lot more people,” Karamargin said.
What that did not include, he conceded, is an event with media who then would not just publicize the announcement but also be able to ask him questions about the state’s handling of the virus and other issues.
“We chose not to,” Karamargin said. “We chose to approach this important announcement by letting people know about it with a video and a press release.”
And the fact that Ducey did get inoculated ahead of everyone else in his age group for the PSA?
“This is what leading by example looks like,” Karamargin responded.