Indoor Drive-Thru Vaccination Site Opens At Warehouse In Mesa

Maj. Gen. McGuire, adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard, walks through the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale in this file photo from early January. (Photo by Spec. Mykaela Martin/Arizona Army National Guard)

By Sabrina Kenou

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Health Services on Monday opened an indoor drive-thru vaccination site at Dexcom’s regional distribution center in Mesa, providing more comfort for all involved as temperatures approach triple digits.

The move comes on the heels of an announcement that the state’s five vaccine sites have administered 1 million doses since December, with more than 3 million Arizonans having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines through the state and other providers, health officials said.

New appointments are available each Friday at 11 a.m. at DHS.

“We are thankful for the support from Dexcom and other partners to make this indoor vaccine site a reality and continue to roll the vaccine out in Arizona,” said Dr. Cara Christ, health department director. Dexcom makes glucose monitoring systems for diabetics.

Of those 1 million shots, more than 700,000 were given at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, which closed Sunday evening to transition to overnight hours moving forward, health officials said. The site, formerly operating 24/7 in the stadium’s west parking lot, has transitioned their hours for the next few weeks as the site prepares to move to an indoor location. Its hours of operation are now from 5 p.m.-9 a.m. until April 23, when the site will close for good and vaccine administration will be resumed at nearby Gila River Arena. Instead of a drive-thru site like it’s predecessor, patients will have to park and enter the arena to receive their shot.

In addition, a vaccination site is expected to open April 22 at Westworld of Scottsdale.

“This Scottsdale site will provide convenient access for our North Valley and tribal communities,” Christ said.

But the Dexcom drive-thru site, near Mesa-Gateway Airport, is the first of its kind among the state run vaccination sites. According to Christ, there has been a push to move all state-run vaccine delivery sites indoors as Arizona temperatures head into the 100s.

“As we begin to receive more doses of the vaccine across the state, we want to make sure that we are looking out for our staff, volunteers, equipment and patients,” Christ said. “After this event, hundreds of vehicles will pass through this facility and the patients will benefit from this spacious, climate-controlled space.

Volunteers were also appreciative of the air-conditioning, and the ability to serve others without standing outside in the blistering sun.

“It’s lovely here,” volunteer Sally Zimmerman said. “It’s very nice in here. Much better than having to stand outside in the 95 degree heat.”

State health officials on Monday reported 608 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. To date, 16,990 Arizonans have died in the pandemic.

While vaccination sites continue to open up around the state, the pride that comes with each does not fade.

“We’re very proud of our partnership with the city of Mesa, Dexcom and Walgreens who have helped migrate this site from Chandler Gilbert,” Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs said. “We are excited to continue to build the robust spirit for our much-needed volunteers.”

(Data visualization by Eva Mo/Cronkite News)

Cronkite News reporter Katelyn Keenehan contributed to this report.

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