Josh MarcusTue, 9 February 2021, 1:25 am
The president and vice-president on Monday virtually toured a Covid vaccine site at State Farm Stadium, home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, where they praised the state’s vaccination efforts and described how they inherited a chaotic rollout from the Trump administration.
“I got a call during the Super Bowl from the commissioner of football offering us the 30 major stadiums, soI think they’re going to be coming to you and looking at how you did, because you’re doing such a great job,” Joe Biden told Cara M Christ, the state’s director of health services.
The vaccination clinic at the stadium, formerly known as University of Phoenix Stadium, has been up and running since 11 January, and administers doses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So far, according to officials, it has given out more than 160,000 doses, and averages more than 8,000 per day.
“The main goal was really to accelerate getting vaccines into the arms of Arizonans,” Dr Christ said. “We weren’t sure what a 24/7 site would look like. We weren’t sure we would have the demand we needed.”
“The 24/7 nature of this site allows us to ensure no dose expires or goes unused,” she added.
The state is currently vaccinating healthcare workers, long-term care residents, educators and childcare providers, and adults older than 65. Arizona’s rollout plan is somewhat unique in that it sometimes allows patients to have a plus-one who’s in regular contact with them to get vaccinated, and doesn’t ask for proof of residency. This is in part because Arizona has a large seasonal farmworker population.
“You can be from anywhere in the United states, and we will still vaccine you,” Ms Christ told the White House.
Talking about the state of vaccinating in the US, president Biden said the chaotic Trump transition had delayed their efforts.
“One of the things that when we started to find out what we were going to do, there wasn’t much of a transition,” he said. “We weren’t given a lot of information. Some of the info we had turned out not to be accurate in terms of vaccine supplies.”
He also highlighted his plans to use the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to help build vaccination sites.