PHOENIX — Arizona's state-run COVID-19 vaccination sites will begin to slowly shut down "over the coming weeks," the Arizona Department of Health Services said Thursday, and will instead focus on bringing more shots to local neighborhoods, pharmacies, and doctors' offices.
All state-run vaccination sites are expected to close on or before Monday, June 28, ADHS said.
Saturday, June 5, will be the last day that people can receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine -- state sites only have Pfizer -- and the last day to schedule their second dose.
You can visit http://www.azdhs.gov/FindVaccine to book an appointment.
Anyone who receives their first dose after June 5 will be given information to receive their second dose at another site.
“We’re in a much different position today than we were early in the year, with enough vaccine available throughout Arizona for virtually anyone to get vaccinated when they want close to home," said Dr. Cara Christ in a statement.
State vaccination sites are currently operating at Gila River Area in Glendale, ASU's Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Dexcom's warehouse in Mesa, WestWorld of Scottsdale, University of Arizona in Tucson, Yuma Civic Center in Yuma, and at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Those 12 and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine at one of the state's sites.
To date, more than 3.3 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona, of which 2.8 million are considered to be fully vaccinated, according to ADHS.
What are your COVID-19 vaccine options now?
The phasing-out of state-run vaccine sites doesn’t mean vaccinations are over. The focus is now shifting to more neighborhood options including pharmacies, doctors' offices, and pop-up clinics.
Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health has nine centers throughout the Valley. They’ve administered 20,000 COVID vaccinations since February but it hasn’t been easy.
“We've had a lot of ups and downs and we've learned a lot and really gained a lot of efficiency on how to give COVID vaccines the fastest way possible,” says Katrina Morgan with Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH).
At the beginning of Arizona’s vaccine rollout, people were facing extremely long lines at state-run sites. That was if they were lucky enough to even get an appointment. Then in April, outdoor operations started moving indoors. Now, we’re seeing a slow-down even though state sites are taking walk-ins and anyone over the age of 12. That is the reason why the focus is now changing again, this time to community outreach in order to get closer to herd immunity.
"You have those people in the middle that really want more information and really want to understand what's going on and kind of want to take a look at things. So, this is where we need to bring the data and provide education. So, I agree that really now, the local face-to-face level is where this needs to happen,” says Dr. Ross Goldberg, immediate past president of Arizona Medical Association.
NOAH says they realize how valuable those personal connections are in breaking down barriers.
“We have found that it's very important for our providers, our behavioral health providers, our medical providers, our dental providers... everyone is involved. So, at every appointment we're having the conversations, ‘how can we answer questions?’”
They also have a mobile unit working with several community groups to hold pop-up events.
"We have about six different high schools and community colleges that we’re working with on like a summer plan to try and push and get everyone vaccinated before school begins,” says Morgan.
NOAH says its clinics were vaccinating close to 2,000 people a week and now, around 500 a week. That’s why they’re continuing to think outside the box.