Vaccine demand falls at University of Arizona state POD
University says thousands of appointments are going unclaimed
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - If you got a COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Arizona or drove past campus on Campbell Avenue last week, you may have noticed the line to get in backed up to Speedway.
This week, that’s not the case.
“The market is getting saturated now, which is a good thing,” said Chris Kopach, the Incident Commander at the vaccine POD.
The COVID-19 vaccine POD can’t fill its open appointments, and Monday, April 12, about 1,000 went unclaimed. The university said this is because vaccines are now available at more drug stores and doctors’ offices. That’s a 180-degree change from where they were just a week ago.
“About a week ago Friday, we did over 4,400 vaccines between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m., so it was taking roughly about an hour to get each car through,” Kopach said.
The university says that’s about 330 cars each hour, that sheer volume caused traffic to back up for blocks on Campbell.
“If today is any indication, we’re seeing the same thing where things are really dropping off,” Kopach said.
So what does this mean for the future of the POD?
“It’s not going to be forever that we have the POD going,” Kopach said. “We’re looking down the road and watching the numbers. The plan was to always run through June.”
“Each day that we give out a first dose, we know we’re signing up for at least three more weeks because we want to make sure people get those second doses,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Christ said they are monitoring the demand.
“If we have no demand it doesn’t make sense to staff and run these major sites,” Christ said.
Right now, Kopach says the immediate focus is on beating the heat.
“What we’re possibly thinking is continue doing outside at the University of Arizona POD until April 30 for first shots and second shots the month of May,” Kopach said.
Kopach wants to ensure that even though demand may have dropped, it doesn’t mean doses are going to waste.
“We’ve wasted no vaccine,” Kopach said. “We talked about it today about really monitoring once we get that shot mixed up, it has to go into an arm.”
The university said they are still in need of volunteers. If you want to register to help out, you can visit https://healthsciences.arizona.edu/connect/announcements/volunteers-needed-help-covid-19-vaccine-distribution
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