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Beating the heat: State-run COVID-19 vaccine site opens inside ASU arena

(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX – Arizona’s state-run COVID-19 vaccination program took another step out of the heat Monday with a new indoor arena site in Tempe.

The walk-up operation at Arizona State University’s Desert Financial Arena replaces the parking lot site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, which closed over the weekend.

The two locations are about 3 miles apart.

“We transitioned from Phoenix Municipal Stadium last night when we closed at 5, and this morning we started back up here [Desert Financial Arena] at 7,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Monday.

The move is part of a series of implemented or planned changes to keep vaccines flowing at a high rate without subjecting workers and patrons to the rising temperatures this time of year.

By April 23, there will be seven state-run sites across Arizona, with all but one giving shots indoors.

Last week, the Chandler-Gilbert Community College parking lot was replaced by the state’s first drive-thru indoor site, located in Mesa at the Dexcom distribution center near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

On April 19, the first state-run site north of the Valley will open at the University Union Fieldhouse at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Three days later, an indoor walk-up site will debut at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

Then on April 23, the drive-thru site in the parking lot of Glendale’s State Farm Stadium, which recently transitioned from 24/7 service to overnight shifts (5 p.m.-9 a.m.), will close up shop and be replaced by a walk-up site inside nearby Gila River Arena.

If no other changes are made, the University of Arizona in Tucson will be the only remaining state-run site with outdoor service, although the state has a heat plan to potentially move it indoors in May. The other active site outside the Phoenix area launched March 29 inside the Yuma Civic Center.

As of Monday morning, more than 4.1 million vaccine doses had been administered in Arizona, with nearly 1.2 million of them from state-run sites.

The following week’s worth of appointments for the state-run sites, which use the Pfizer vaccine, are released every Friday at 11 a.m. Appointments can be booked online at https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov/ or by calling 844-542-8201.

All adults across Arizona are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, with the minimum age at 16 for the Pfizer shot and 18 for Moderna or Johnson & Johnson versions.

For details about statewide vaccine availability, the ADHS website has a vaccine-finder page showing locations and registration information.

For information about metro Phoenix vaccine availability, Maricopa County Public Health has a locator page that lists pharmacies, government-run sites, health clinics and pop-up distribution events.

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For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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