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President Biden, VP Harris to virtually tour State Farm Stadium vaccine site

Cars line up at the State Farm Stadium COVID-19 vaccine site in Glendale, Arizona. (Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Health Services)

PHOENIX — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will virtually tour the state-run COVID-19 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium on Monday, the White House announced Sunday evening.

The two will tour the site at 12:30 p.m. Arizona time.

The vaccination site in Glendale administered its 100,000 COVID-19 dose on Jan. 30, less than three weeks after opening, with nearly one in six vaccinations in the state occurring in the stadium’s parking lot at the time.

“We’re proud to have reached this milestone so quickly, but there is much more work to be done,”  Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said in a press release announcing the milestone.

“Our only limitation is the amount of vaccine we have been allocated. As we get more doses into Arizona, we can replicate this nationally recognized model in even more places around the state.”

Health officials at State Farm Stadium on Feb. 1 began administering second doses to those vaccinated in January, according to the release, while administering just as many first doses.

Once at full capacity, the site will administer 10,000 to 12,000 doses each day.

All appointments at State Farm Stadium, and a second state-run site that opened Feb. 1 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, are booked through February but appointments have been reserved for those vaccinated at state-run sites to receive second doses.

More appointments will be added as the state receives more vaccines.

Those in the Phase 1A and prioritized Phase 1B groups are receiving vaccinations at State Farm Stadium.

This includes frontline health care workers; emergency services workers; residents and staff at long-term care facilities; protective services workers; K-12, university, and community college educators; childcare workers; and adults 65 and older.

The state-run sites recently lowered the age of eligibility from 75 to 65, opening up opportunities for more than 750,000 Arizonans, the state health department confirmed.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Christ requested an emergency infusion of 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses and an increase of 300,000 doses weekly from the state’s federal allotment, a request Ducey says was denied.

Arizona’s GOP Congress members and Rep. Greg Stanton, a Democrat, in response sent letters requesting more vaccines.

Ducey said the sites at State Farm Stadium and Phoenix Municipal Stadium are both operating below capacity due to the allocation of vaccines from federal partners.

Vaccine doses are the single biggest limiting factor to opening more appointments and creating new mass vaccination sites, according to Ducey, who said the state is looking to open several mass vaccination sites across Arizona along with smaller sites to target hard to reach populations.

State Farm Stadium is currently Arizona’s only 24/7 vaccination site.

A $1 million grant from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation helped make the stadium site possible, according to a press release. The Cardinals, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Arizona State University and the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs aided in the effort to open and operate the stadium vaccine site.

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