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The University of Arizona plans to decommission its vaccination site as of June 25 and has announced new hours.

With the decline in vaccine demand and “as other avenues for vaccination become more readily available,” the UA POD plans to scale back its hours and on Monday transitioned to fully indoors at the Ina E. Gittings Building, closing the drive-thru as the days get hotter, announced UA President Robert C. Robbins at the university update on Monday morning.

At the start of next week the UA POD will shorten its hours to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., then on June 1 will continue with new hours only offering second doses.

“We're going to stop taking first dose appointments, relatively soon, just to make sure that the second dose is booked here at the University of Arizona POD, so that we will finish all shots that we started here,” said Vice President of Communications Holly Jensen. More details here.

County launching mobile vax pods

As health officials work to overcome vaccine hesitancy among some members of the public, Pima County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are teaming up to launch mobile vaccination units to reach vulnerable communities with high risks of COVID-19 exposure and infection.

The operation includes two mobile vaccination units (MVUs), able to administer 250 vaccines per day each, along with administrative staff and federal vaccinators with 70 personnel from FEMA, Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Labor, according to a county press release.

The units will run through June 26, operating at two concurrent locations for three days, with one day to tear down and move to the next location. The locations were selected based on census tract data and the Social Vulnerability Index of the area to identify highly vulnerable communities.

“We’re extremely grateful to FEMA for partnering with us on this effort to reach pockets of the community who may not have easy access to this life-saving vaccine,” said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. “The ability to offer vaccines during evenings and weekends will enable us to reach folks whose work or school schedules prevent them from getting a vaccine now. With this effort, there’s truly no reason not to roll up your sleeve and get your shot so we can start putting this pandemic behind us.”

The sites will offer walk-up vaccinations of both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those 18 and older on a first-come, first-served basis. Vaccinators will return to the same mobile site 28 days after their first visit to receive their second dose, following CDC guidance. Help will be available to all who need assistance with mobility, language or other accommodations.

Here are the planned mobile clinics:

May 7-9, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road
  • Desert Diamond Casino, 7350 S. Nogales Hwy.

May 11-13, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Greyhound Park, 2601 S. Third Ave.
  • Wheeler Taft Library, 7800 N. Schisler Drive

May 15-17, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. First Ave.
  • Curtis Park, 2110 W. Curtis Road

The county continues to offer vaccinations at several vaccination centers, mobile pop-up clinics and pharmacies. Visit pima.gov/covid19vaccine for more information.

No appointment necessary for the UA vax POD

You no longer need an appointment to get a shot at the UA vaccination point of distribution. The POD will now accept anyone over the age of 16 who comes in for a shot.

The pod has closed its drive-thru clinic because of rising temperatures, but still offers a sit-down clinic in the Ina E. Gittings Building (1737 E. University Blvd.) from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

If you’d rather schedule an appointment, the state is expected to open new first-dose appointments daily at podvaccine.azdhs.gov. Call 602-542-1000 or 844-542-8201 for help in English or Spanish.

If you need help, call the COVID Ambassador Team hotline at 520-848-4045 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily or email covidhelp@arizona.edu.

Meanwhile, Pima County officials are shifting to indoor vaccination sites to avoid making staff and volunteers endure long days in triple-degree temperatures.

Tucson Medical Center has shut down its drive-thru vaccination clinics and transferred its operations to the Udall Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road. The site is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Register at https://vaccine.tmcaz.com/MyChart/OpenScheduling.

Pima County has opened a new indoor vaccine site at the Kino Event Center, where the county had earlier been doing COVID testing. That site is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Register at azdhs.gov.

The county has also opened an indoor vaccination POD at El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

The drive-through POD at Banner-South Kino Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way, is now offering appointments between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and will close permanently on May 14.

As of Tuesday, May 4, 402,679 people in Pima County had received at least one shot of the virus, accounting for 38.5% of the population. A total of 322,792 people were fully vaccinated.

For more information or additional mobile clinics, visit pima.gov/covid19vaccineregistration or call 520-222-0119.

Many local pharmacies are now receiving vaccine doses. To find one near you, visit the ADHS website.

Get tested: Pima County has free COVID testing

Pima County is continuing to offer a number of testing centers and pop-up testing sites around town, including the northside Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road. Schedule an appointment at pima.gov/covid19testing.

The University of Arizona’s antibody testing can determine if you have had COVID and now have antibodies. To sign up for testing, visit https://covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu/home.

Today’s numbers

With 701 new cases reported today, the total number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases rose past 865,000 as of Tuesday, May 4, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 76 new cases today, has seen 115,437 of the state’s 865,280 confirmed cases.

With 11 new deaths reported this morning, a total of 17,355 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 2,397 deaths in Pima County, according to the May 4 report.

A total of 615 coronavirus patients were in the hospital as of May 3. That’s roughly 12% of the number hospitalized at the peak of the winter surge, which reached 5,082 on Jan. 12. The summer peak was 3,517, which was set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent lowest number of hospitalized COVID patients was 468, set on Sept. 27, 2020.

A total of 808 people visited emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms on May 3. That number represents 34.5% of the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. That number had peaked during the summer wave at 2,008 on July 7, 2020; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28, 2020.

A total of 184 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on May 3, which roughly 15.5% of the record 1,183 ICU patients set on Jan. 11. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13, 2020. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22, 2020.

—with additional reporting from Austin Counts, Christina Duran, Jeff Gardner and Mike Truelsen