Arizona’s 1st indoor drive-thru COVID vaccination site opens in Mesa
Apr 5, 2021, 6:04 AM | Updated: 2:46 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross)
PHOENIX – The first drive-thru indoor state-run site dispensing COVID-19 vaccine opens in Mesa on Monday, when the temperature is expected to reach nearly 100 degrees.
The drive-thru at the Dexcom distribution center near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will open to the public at noon the first day then operate from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week after that.
Arizona Department of Health Services officials said the vaccination area will take up about 30,000 of the 500,000-square-foot regional medical technology distribution center through June 30.
The site near Loop 202 and Power Road can handle up to 4,000 appointments a day and could support as many as 12,000 if it goes to around-the-clock dispensing, ADHS said.
The warehouse replaces Chandler-Gilbert Community College, where the last person was inoculated Saturday.
“What we’re trying to do is put more of our sites indoors because it’s starting to get very hot. We don’t want our volunteers or our patients to get heat exhaustion,” Health Director Dr. Cara Christ told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Monday.
Christ said as a full drive-thru, the warehouse was ventilated and able to keep the vehicles safely inside during the 15-minute post-immunization observation period without fear of emission buildup.
But, she added if there were too many vehicles inside at one time in observation, some would be moved outside for the last two or three minutes of the wait period.
Officials made another change top accommodate rising temperatures, announcing Friday that Gila River Arena in Glendale will replace State Farm Stadium as a state-run mass-vaccination site starting April 23.
That indoor location will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and has the capacity to dole out 1,000 shots an hour.
State Farm Stadium, which had been running 24/7 since launching Jan. 11, will continue to operate in the meantime. Arizona’s largest mass-vaccination site had already shifted hours to accommodate the heat, moving to 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. daily availability.
The National Weather Service expected Monday’s high to be about 97 degrees.
A week’s worth of appointments for the state-run sites are released every Friday at 11 a.m. Appointments can be booked online at https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov or by calling 844-542-8201
For other Valley availability, the Maricopa County Public Health website has an online vaccine finder that shows pharmacies, government-run sites, health clinics and pop-up distribution events along with links to the applicable registration pages.
Additional spots can open at any time through any provider because of cancellations and additional deliveries, so vaccine seekers should continue checking any or all of the registration options regularly.
Although appointments are required, all adults are eligible at the state-run sites as well as any other vaccine provider in Maricopa County. The minimum age is 16 for the Pfizer vaccine and 18 for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots.