Interest in volunteering at COVID-19 vaccination site drops as Arizona expands vaccine eligibility

On March 21, FOX 10 reported on how people who were not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination managed to get vaccinated after volunteering at a state-run vaccination site.

Related: Some are working at COVID-19 vaccination sites as volunteers in order to get vaccine

Nicholas Lenard, 31, said at the time that he would have had to wait quite some time to get his shot if he didn't volunteer.

"It incentivizes you to do good things, as far as volunteering and doing something for your community," said Lenard. "The guys that set this up are geniuses."

On March 22, a day after the story aired, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that any Arizonans 16 or older can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine at state-run sites in Maricopa, Pinal and Yuma Counties.

"Our goal has been and remains to get the vaccine into the community as quickly, widely and equitably as possible," said Governor Ducey, in a statement. "Given a thorough review of vaccination data, anticipated vaccine supply, and current demand among prioritized groups, now is the time to take this critical next step."

Related: Arizonans ages 16 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting March 24

As everyone 16 and over will be eligible for vaccination come March 24, this is having an impact on volunteers at state-run sites. 700 volunteers are needed a day to run both the State Farm Stadium and Phoenix Municipal Stadium sites, but currently, it is difficult to get volunteers to work.

"We released some shifts today at Phoenix Municipal, and for 10 days, about 20 shift," said Rhonda Oliver, CEO with HandsOn Greater Phoenix. "Last week, when we released those shifts, they would’ve filled up in an hour, and they’ve been live now for six hours, and nowhere near full."

When HandsOn Greater Phoenix first started its efforts in February, thousands of people were lined up to volunteer. Since then, about 17,000 people have already volunteered, with the most popular age group for volunteering being those between 30 and 40 years old. Oliver says volunteering is still the fastest way to get a vaccine.

"We went from 55 all the way down to 16, but the capacity of the sites to distribute the vaccine is still the same," said Oliver. "There aren’t more appointments in their work, and now, we have a huge pool of people that are eligible that are going to be fighting for a spot."

Officials with HandsOn are now asking for those who have volunteered in the past to come back and help out.

Vaccinate State 48 volunteer opportunities

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COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)