Arizona aims to inoculate 3.5 million by midsummer
With the goal of vaccinating 3.5 million Arizonans by July 1, the state opened its second COVID-19 drive-thru vaccination site Monday at Arizona State University’s Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
ASU, along with ASURE, will manage site operations in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, and with support from many private, public, corporate and nonprofit partners.
“We created state-run sites at State Farm Stadium and now ASU’s Phoenix Municipal Stadium to add capacity and get even more Arizonans vaccinated,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services director, during a site-opening press conference. “Over the weekend the State Farm stadium administered its 100,000 dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and today that site began giving second doses of the vaccine while still accommodating thousands daily for their first dose.”
The new site boasts the same capacity of 12,000 vaccines per day as at State Farm, but will begin by providing 500 per day, ramping up as vaccine supply in Arizona is increased. The Phoenix Municipal site will be open daily and appointments can be made through the ADHS website.
“In addition to providing this site, Arizona State University brings its expertise by overseeing the staffing, logistics, and operations at both facilities,” Christ said. “These state-run sites have drawn attention from other states and from our federal partners as best practice models for mass vaccination. They are a credit to the professionals and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to create and run them.”
ASU teams are providing staffing including triage, traffic control, security and clinicians delivering vaccines under the medical direction of ADHS.
“As we work through this next opening I want to say thank you to ASU,” said Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire, Arizona adjutant general and DEMA director, during the opening ceremony that marked the new public vaccination site. “Their partnership here and at State Farm has been invaluable.”
Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, gives Charissa Watkins her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Watkins teaches fifth through eighth graders math and STEM courses at Girls Innovation Academy in Phoenix.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Drive-thru stations stand ready for vaccine patients in the early morning Monday, prior to the opening of the state's second vaccination site at ASU's Phoenix Municipal Stadium.Photo by Jerry Gonzalez/ASU
ASU President Michael M. Crow speaks at Monday's opening of the COVID-19 vaccine site at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium; speakers wore masks except when speaking from the lectern. Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, administered the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 15 educators and public safety officials. ASU is a key partner in the project.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Some of the first vaccine patients pull into the drive-thru stations at the new site Monday. ASU is a key partner in the project, running the logistics of the distributions.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire, Arizona adjutant general and Department of Emergency and Military Affairs director, speaks at the opening of Arizona's COVID-19 vaccine site at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Monday.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Sparky and ASU alumna Rosalva López flash pitchforks after she receives her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Lopez is the principal of NFL YET College Preparatory Academy in Phoenix.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Over 760,000 Arizona residents have been infected by COVID-19 to date since the first case was diagnosed in the state in January 2020. The virus has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people in Arizona as numbers continue to climb.
ASU has been instrumental in fighting the pandemic. The university manages over 100 testing sites across the state, and ASU’s Biodesign Institute has processed over 625,000 COVID-19 tests while providing results in about 48 hours.
However, the pandemic is not yet under control and the struggle against the virus is far from over, ASU President Michael M. Crow said. While enthusiastic about ASU’s commitment to be of service, the president had words of caution about the pandemic and encouraged all Arizonans to be vigilant, mask up, get tested and get vaccinated as soon as eligible.
“I want to make sure that everyone understands that this is a long-term thing,” Crow said. “This is a virus that has been introduced into the human ecosystem in a way in which is going to require us to all work together.”
Dealing with the pandemic must be approached with an open mind, Crow said. It requires caring about others and doing what is necessary to get the pandemic back to “some level of management” so people can get on with their lives.
“Management is going to require all of us working together,” Crow said. “ASU is a part of the team to make this happen. We are excited to be able to be here today to help open this site.”
Phoenix Municipal is home to the ASU Sun Devil baseball team. The site previously served as a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site before transitioning to vaccines and is located in the parking area west of the stadium, on the corner of East Van Buren Street and North Galvin Parkway.
Vaccinations are by appointment only and based on eligibility set by the current state prioritization. Appointments are booked through the ADHS registration system. Once an appointment is booked and confirmation from ADHS is received, residents may proceed to the site between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including weekends. Hours may expand once more vaccines are available.
“We look forward to the day when Arizona’s vaccine supply allows us to operate this site at full capacity and look toward opening state-run sites elsewhere around Arizona,” Christ said.
Top photo: A new COVID-19 vaccination site opened at ASU's Phoenix Municipal Stadium Feb. 1. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU