Arizona began a massive effort to vaccinate residents against COVID-19 on Jan. 11, with the opening of its first state-run shot site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The 24/7 operation, which has since closed, administered more than 632,000 vaccinations, becoming one of the largest mass-vaccination locations in the nation.

The site was one of many efforts – big and small – to get shots into arms. From operations at university campuses to events at small clinics on the Navajo reservation, doctors, nurses, members of the National Guard and everyday volunteers came together to help get Arizona closer to herd immunity and the normal life left behind over a year ago.

READ ALSOAnswers to your burning COVID-19 vaccine questions

Cronkite News photographer Travis Robertson crisscrossed Arizona to document the undertaking that has succeeded in fully vaccinating 46.5% of those in the state.

A campus transformed

The University of Arizona established a vaccination site on its campus, offering drive-thru shots on University Mall and a walk-up site in the university’s Ina Gittings Building. On Feb. 10, Gov. Doug Ducey announced that the site would transition into a state-operated effort and that hours would be expanded. These photos were taken Feb. 1.

Help for essential workers

Bashas’ grocery stores held a drive-thru vaccination event on March 22 at a distribution center in Chandler. The family-owned chain, with more than 130 stores mostly in Arizona, had received 500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and administered 300 of them at this event for its workers, considered essential during the pandemic.

Vaccines for the vulnerable

More than 1,600 members of an especially vulnerable population – those with intellectual or developmental disabilities – got their first COVID-19 vaccinations at a weekend event on April 10 and 11. Vaccinations were administered inside a walk-in clinic at the Ability360 Sports and Fitness Center in Phoenix. Second doses were administered May 1 and 2. These photos were taken April 11.

Shots for a hard-hit tribe

The Navajo Nation confirmed its first COVID-19 case on March 17, 2020, after a man with symptoms sought help at the Kayenta Health Center, in the northern part of the sprawling reservation.

The nation soon became one of the country’s hotspots for the disease, with more than 30,000 cases and about 1,300 deaths to date.

More than a year after that first case, the clinic in Kayenta, located 300 miles north of Phoenix, is providing vaccinations to tribal members. This event was on April 10, and provided Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to individuals 16 or older.


Story by Travis Robertson, Cronkite News