Victor Castillo, a physics teacher at Western School of Science and Technology, receives his second dose of vaccine at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Monday, Feb. 1. (Photo by Alberto Mariani, Cronkite News)
Arizona opens second stadium vaccination site, but doses are limited
Arizona health officials on Monday opened the state’s second COVID-19 vaccination site, at ASU’s Phoenix Municipal Stadium, aiming to build on the success of the first site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
While the Phoenix vaccination site was initially limited to 500 shots a day, the Arizona Department of Health Services is opening up registration for 21,000 more appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. This is part of the state’s ongoing work to speed up the pace of vaccine distribution. These additional appointments will be available to prioritized Arizonans at the new state-run vaccination site at Arizona State University’s Phoenix Municipal Stadium and administered from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., by appointment only.
The State Farm location, which health officials say has vaccinated 100,000 people since it opened Jan. 11, will continue operating 24/7. Appointments are required there, too.
“We’ve ramped up COVID-19 vaccinations across Arizona, thanks to our state-run State Farm site, and we will accelerate that momentum with our Phoenix Municipal Stadium site,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement. “We will continue to add more locations across the state as we get more supply.”
January marks the deadliest month of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, with more than 95,000 deaths in the first month of 2021 alone. The death toll nationally stands at nearly 440,000; it was 13,124 in Arizona as of Monday.
In Arizona, the vaccine is currently being given to health care workers, teachers, first responders, law enforcement officers and those older than 65. Arizona State University, which owns Phoenix Municipal Stadium on East Van Buren Street, is providing support and supplies to the effort.
“ASU takes fundamental responsibility in the communities we serve,” ASU President Michael Crow said in a statement. “So when the state called and requested assistance in opening vaccination sites, we were quick to jump into action.”
Moving forward, health experts warn that the biggest concern is making sure there is enough supply of the second doses necessary for full inoculation. Former state health director Will Humble said a lot weighs on whether the Food and Drug Administration approves the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires one dose.
“If everything goes well, we could see some Johnson & Johnson vaccines be shipped into the states hopefully by February,” said Humble, the executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association. “It’s a niche product because it’s a refrigerator vaccine in a single dose.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top adviser to President Joe Biden on COVID-19, told reporters last week that he expects Johnson & Johnson to seek expedited approvals for the vaccine.
“Hopefully by the time we get to the late spring and early summer we will have children being able to be vaccinated,” Fauci said at a White House coronavirus briefing Friday.
Story by Sabrina Kenoun, Cronkite News