Encroaching summer heat prompts state site that was at Phoenix Municipal Stadium to move indoors
Arizona State University has announced that it will host and coordinate a new indoor public COVID-19 vaccination site on its Tempe campus at Desert Financial Arena, opening Monday, April 12.
The new point of distribution is a transfer of the state’s previous site, operated by ASU, at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, also an ASU property. People who have already been scheduled for second-dose appointments at Phoenix Municipal Stadium for Monday, April 12, and later are being informed of the new location for their second doses.
Higher temperatures and the beginning of summer weather prompted the change, both for the benefit and safety of health professionals and volunteers, and for members of the public.
“The public distribution sites are the work of a tremendous community partnership, a mix of some very talented professionals and a very dedicated cadre of volunteers,” said David Thomas, chief executive officer of Arizona State University Research Enterprise and the lead member of ASU’s vaccination site team. “Moving indoors will enable us to keep getting vaccines in arms at the fastest rate possible; the Arizona heat was already starting to work against us.”
The Desert Financial Arena vaccination point of distribution will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vaccinations will be provided on the main concourse of Desert Financial Arena, and arena seating will be available for the required 15 or 30 minutes of observation after vaccination. Appointments will continue to be required and can be accessed through the ADHS website at azhealth.gov/findvaccine.
“ASU has been a leader in the fight against COVID-19, from its work with the saliva test to staffing test and vaccine sites,” said Tempe Mayor Corey D. Woods. “Now, ASU is housing the new indoor vaccine center inside Desert Financial Arena. We thank ASU for all its efforts and for providing a vaccine center in our city. This will be a tremendous asset to our community and the region.”
In addition to being indoors, the Desert Financial Arena site is also located along the Valley Metro light rail line, giving those who rely on public transportation a convenient way to travel. Located at 600 E. Veterans Way, Desert Financial Arena is adjacent to the Veterans Way/College Avenue station, Stop #10022.
For those who plan to drive to the site, plenty of free parking will be available north of the arena; the public entrance to the vaccination POD also will be on the north side of the arena. Due to construction around the university and near the site, the university strongly recommends that drivers use Rio Salado Parkway and arrive from the north.
“Arizona State University is now operating and managing four of the state’s seven public points of distribution for the COVID-19 vaccine, and we are very happy that university property can be of service to the public for this important community activity,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “It is important for as many people as possible to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible, and we have many people around the university working to help make it happen.”
ADHS and ASU organizers say the first priority at the Desert Financial Arena site is to ensure that all scheduled second-dose appointments are successfully relocated while maintaining focus on continuing to maximize the number of first doses available to the public. The goal is to meet or exceed the capacity of the Phoenix Municipal site, which vaccinated approximately 3,500 people a day.
According to the state’s vaccination dashboard, nearly 2.5 million people in Arizona have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with more than 1.5 million fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
On-campus vaccination distribution
While the Desert Financial Arena will be serving the public, the university continues to work to get its students and staff vaccinated as well.
ASU opened an on-campus vaccine distribution site in late January, focusing on health/lab workers, older employees and those in high-public-contact positions on campus. That has since been expanded to all employees, and beginning in early April, the university has opened vaccination appointments to all immersion (on-campus) students. The student appointments are available on all four campuses in metro Phoenix.
Staff, faculty and students can sign up for an appointment via My Health Portal; they are also welcome to sign up for vaccination through the county or state (including appointments at the Desert Financial Arena location).
All employees are asked to upload a copy of their vaccination card after they receive the vaccine.
Vaccination sites depend on the work of hundreds of volunteers each day, working to get people registered, checked in, vaccinated and observed afterward. Employees and students alike have volunteered at both ASU and county/state locations. In addition to the gratification of helping others, most volunteers are able to receive a vaccination as a perk.
RELATED: Listen to the stories from the vaccination front line
Eligible ASU employees have an annual eight-hour volunteer benefit through which they can have up to eight hours of paid time off from regularly scheduled work to volunteer at charitable organizations or government agencies, and they are encouraged to make use of that benefit.
Volunteer shifts at the state-run sites are listed on the HandsOn Greater Phoenix site; those slots are open to anyone in the public, and HandsOn has temporarily turned off the $25 sign-up fee for new volunteers.
Members of the ASU community who wish to volunteer at the on-campus Tempe Sun Devil Fitness Center site may do so through https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0c4ca9a722a2fec70-asucovid.
More questions, lots of answers
How do the vaccines work? What’s in them? Were the clinical trials large and long enough to ensure safety? Can I use sick time if I experience side effects?
These and many other questions are answered on ASU’s COVID-19 vaccine FAQ page. The information was compiled with the help of health experts across the university, including the Biodesign Institute, the College of Health Solutions and the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.
The FAQ page also features the latest vaccine news from both the university and outside media sources, as well as a roundup of #ForksUpSleevesUp social media posts of Sun Devils sharing their vaccination moment.
The page is part of ASU’s larger COVID-19 communication webpages, which include an extensive coronavirus FAQ, the university’s latest updates and the data page with the current positive case counts and testing numbers.
Top image by Charlie Leight/ASU News