Mass vaccination sites see decline in visitors, focus moves to mobile locations

Mass vaccination sites see decline in visitors, focus moves to mobile locations
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 6:05 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Mass vaccination sites are seeing a decline in visitors.

“You’ll recall it wasn’t that long ago that there were people waiting in line at some of the vaccination sites,” said Dr. Francisco García, the medical director for the Pima County Health Department.

A few months ago, the state-run site at the University of Arizona had rows of cars waiting for vaccines. University leaders expected this would eventually change.

“We are anticipating it will be decommissioned as other avenues for vaccination will become more readily available,” said Dr. Robert Robbins, the president at the University of Arizona.

At one point, the site gave out more than 4,000 vaccines per day and this week averaging under 1,000.

“Now with saturation of market, you can get it at Fry’s, Target, Costco or your local pharmacy. We are now seeing those numbers drop,” said Christopher Kopach, the assistant vice president for facilities management at the University of Arizona.

The drop in people showing up for vaccines at mass sites is happening at many locations. Tucson Medical Center is also seeing a decline.

“Like vaccine clinics across the state, the number of vaccines administered daily has declined in recent weeks. We continue to have capacity for individuals over 12 years of age. Walk-ups are welcome - and you will be in and out quickly. We appreciate all of our staff and volunteers who are doing this important work at our Udall POD,” Vice President of Community Benefit for TMC HealthCare Julia Strange wrote in a statement.

The county has shifted its focus away from static sites to mobile ones.

“Really put all our eggs in the mobile baskets,” Garcia said. “At this point, it is four to five times harder to get people vaccinated as it was.”

The county is opening new mobile sites each week and is continuing to work with FEMA to place pop-up sites in the most underserved areas in our community. Find more information for FEMA sites in Pima County, here.

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