GLENDALE, AZ — State Farm Stadium is open 24/7 right now but by next month, the vaccination site will be converted into an overnight-only operation because of the heat.
The Arizona Department of Health Services is changing its vaccine distribution plans in preparation for the summer months. The decision is based on protecting staff, volunteers and patients.
ABC15 asked a local doctor if the heat could affect the vaccine itself.
"Of course, there is a concern about the temperature rising and the vaccine not being effective but, that's only if it sits out. So, I'd like to say it's not so much a patient problem as a logistic problem, it's the people that are giving it to you have to worry about,” says Dr. Frank LoVecchio, an emergency room physician at Valleywise Health and other Valley hospitals.
The state says in order to replace vaccine distribution capacity at State Farm Stadium and other sites, it will be identifying some indoor venues. This comes as supply is expected to ramp up.
President Biden announced that he’s directing states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1.
“We need to have a SWAT team approach for the next six weeks; six to eight weeks and that will ensure that the slowdown, even if there is a little bit of a slowdown in the summer, has been compensated by the aggression in these six weeks,” says Hitendra Chaturvedi, a professor at the ASU, W.P. Carey School of Business, Department of Supply Chain Management.
The State Farm Stadium site has been praised as a model for others. While Arizona saw success, other parts of the country face challenges like winter storms. Now, Arizona will have to deal with the heat.
Professor Chaturvedi says one in seven Arizonans are currently vaccinated. He believes we could stay on track and get 85% of the population vaccinated by fall but that will take more than just supply.
“One small change that I would recommend, would be to have a bit more mobile units reaching out to the underprivileged, and the poorer communities that are higher-risk, and getting them vaccinated,” says Chaturvedi.