GLENDALE, AZ — This week marked a milestone at the State Farm Stadium COVID-19 vaccination pod with half million vaccinations administered at the site.
The site has operated around the clock since it opened in January, but on April 4 that will change with new hours from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m.
“What we anticipate is overnight we will still be able to do 8-9,000 vaccines. Even in those hours,” said Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ.
Arizona’s mass-run vaccination sites need to make some concessions to mother nature. Hours of operation will change, and some locations will move indoors.
Dr. Christ says Arizona’s heat and the open parking lot setting of the State Farm Stadium POD place too much of a strain on patients, volunteers and technology. Dr. Christ does not anticipate the change will impact the number of people receiving the vaccine.
“What we will do is have more appointments per hour. But given the efficiency at State Farm it won’t reduce capacity significantly,” Dr. Christ said.
Other outdoor vaccination sites will see changes as well.
The recently opened Gilbert-Chandler Community College location will move indoors on April 5 to a location near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The Phoenix Municipal Stadium site will remain open for now. But Dr. Christ says ASU is working to open an indoor vaccination site. The POD at the University of Arizona will also remain open.
In the meantime, 2.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in Arizona, with more than a million people being fully vaccinated.
Dr. Christ says the state saw an increase in the number of vaccines this past week, including 16,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that requires only one shot.
Dr. Christ also said the list of people eligible for the vaccine will expand on April 1 to include anyone 45 and older. By mid-April she expects the list to include anyone 35 and older and in May everyone ages 16 and up will be eligible to be vaccinated. Dr. Christ says the demand to get vaccinated remains high and the state is looking for additional large indoor sites to keep up with the demand.