Operation Expands Availability With More Arizonans Prioritized For Vaccine
PHOENIX, AZ (STL.News) Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services announced Friday Arizona will open a 24/7 vaccination site Monday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale to dramatically expand the availability of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The opening of the site is made possible in part thanks to a generous $1 million grant from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation and with support from the Arizona Cardinals, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.
“Our new vaccine site in Glendale will rapidly expand the number of Arizonans getting vaccinated,” Governor Doug Ducey said. “We need to get these vaccine doses out of freezers and into the arms of Arizonans who want it, and our new site will speed up that process. My thanks to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, and the Arizona Cardinals for donating their time and resources, leading in the opening of this new site, and prioritizing the health and safety of our communities.”
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is establishing the site to vaccinate thousands more individuals each day as Maricopa County, the state’s largest county, moves into Phase 1B of vaccine distribution. The start of that phase prioritizes protective service workers, teachers and K-12 school staff, child care workers, and those age 75 and older.
“As we move into a much larger population of Arizonans prioritized for the vaccine, the state is working 24/7 with our local partners to get more doses into the arms of those who need them,” ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ said. “By combining state resources with the support and expertise of fantastic partners, we can get many more doses out of freezers and into the community.”
The State Farm Stadium site will open the afternoon of Monday, January 11 for law enforcement and other protective service workers, and appointments for others in Phase 1B and Phase 1A will be available starting Tuesday, January 12. Registration information for the site will be posted Monday morning at azhealth.gov/findvaccine.
“This was a real collaborative effort,” Governor Ducey said. “It underscores what can be accomplished by working together to confront the most serious public health crisis of our lifetime.”
The Governor’s December 30 Executive Order enables ADHS to reallocate vaccine doses to facilitate its rapid distribution and administration.
ADHS is collaborating with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) to open the vaccination site on Monday, January 11. More than 725 Citizen-Soldiers, airmen, and civilian staff of DEMA are currently supporting communities side-by-side with medical professionals and volunteers statewide.
The State Farm Stadium vaccination site complements the efforts of counties, who are local allocators of vaccine as the boots on the ground for public health in Arizona. When Maricopa County moves to Phase 1B next week, those prioritized for vaccine will be able to register for appointments at other county sites listed at azhealth.gov/findvaccine, which lists each county’s phase and has local links to register for vaccination.
As of Friday, 123,862 Arizonans had received the COVID-19 vaccine, with 2,127 fully vaccinated with both doses so far. The state has more than 180 vaccination sites, and that number is expanding steadily. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program has conducted vaccination visits at nearly 80 skilled nursing facilities with dozens more scheduled through the end of the month.
As more vaccine is made available to larger groups, distribution will be expanded to hundreds of vaccination providers registered by ADHS, with many more in the pipeline. The Governor’s Executive Order will make this even more efficient by empowering ADHS to manage allocation to large pharmacy chains and other statewide provider groups rather than this process being managed on a county-by-county basis.
The Ivy Foundation’s support for this effort follows a $5 million contribution in April to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund to support the purchase of masks, gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals throughout the state. Its $1 million gift covers the operational costs of opening an additional point of dispensing site at State Farm Stadium and operating it 24 hours a day. Catherine Ivy, who lost her husband, Ben, to brain cancer four months from his diagnosis, participates in leading the Ivy Brain Tumor Center at Barrow Neurological Institute.
“Our mission is to find a cure for brain cancer, and we firmly believe clinical research, such as the Ivy Brain Tumor Center’s Phase 0 clinical trials program, is the key to unlocking the answers necessary to get there,” said Catherine Ivy, Founder and President of the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation. “COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on cancer research globally and a direct impact on brain tumor patients. Through this grant, we hope to accelerate the distribution of vaccines and contribute to relief for our community.”
Volunteers with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona will provide most of the 24/7 staffing, while the Arizona Cardinals have provided the facility, tents, technical assistance, and other critical support.
“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona employees are driven by their commitment to Arizona. We are ready to help and pleased to be part of this collaborative force to get the vaccine delivered,” said Pam Kehaly, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.
“Every corner of our community has been impacted by COVID-19 but the availability of vaccines is a major development in the fight against it,” said Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill. “All of us at the Cardinals and State Farm Stadium are proud to assist in administering these vaccinations in the safest and most efficient way, starting with those most in need of them.”
For more information on COVID-19 vaccination, please visit azhealth.gov/COVID19vaccine.