The University of Arizona will serve as the state’s third 24/7 vaccination site beginning Feb. 18, Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services announced Wednesday.
The university will expand its current hours of operation as a POD, or point of distribution, that currently serves educators and childcare workers. It will transition to a state site that will eventually operate 24/7 as Arizona receives more vaccine doses, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
Appointments will begin on Feb. 18, and registration will open at 9 a.m. on Feb 16. Online registration will be available at podvaccine.azdhs.gov, and those who need assistance can call 1-844-542-8201.
The governor’s office said the site can administer up to 6,000 vaccines a day when it runs at full capacity.
However, ADHS Director Cara Christ said in a letter to County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry on Jan. 29 that the vaccines supplying the state-run site would be taken out of the county’s existing allocation.
“Our commitment is to accelerate immunization. If we can get a 24/7, or even 18 hours by seven (days) POD, that is a high-efficiency, high-effective POD, everyone in the county, and probably first and foremost the public health department, would be incredibly supportive of that,” Pima County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen said last week. “However, if the only way that is done is to take vaccine from the existing PODs, we have a hesitation.”
The state currently has two 24-hour sites in Maricopa County, one at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale that opened on Jan. 11 and a second at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium that opened Feb. 1. As of Wednesday, the two sites have administered 204,061 vaccine doses.
However, it’s not clear if Arizona will have enough vaccine doses to continue supplying the sites. Ducey submitted a federal resource request for 300,000 doses followed by an additional 300,000 vaccines a week, but the request was denied.
Furthermore, Pima County’s vaccine allocation was decreased by 39% this week.
“The demand for vaccine doses is high, and Arizonans have made it clear they want it. We are working hard to secure more doses from the federal government and partner with private and public organizations to get the vaccine out and protect Arizonans. My thanks to President Bobby Robbins and everyone involved for their work to partner on this vaccination site,” Ducey said in the press release.
As of Monday, the university POD delivered 9,866 COVID-19 vaccines at a rate of 800 shots per day to the educators it currently serves.
“Our POD has the capacity to deliver more vaccinations, and we look forward to working together to further meet the needs of Pima County and Arizonans,” UA President Robert C. Robbins said in the release. “I am incredibly proud of our entire team of professionals and volunteers who have partnered closely with Pima County, established the university POD, and operated it so well.”