GLENDALE, Ariz. - The 24-hour COVID-19 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale was the focus of national spotlight on Feb. 8, as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took a virtual look at the facility.
Since the vaccination site opened, more than 170,000 people have received their vaccine there. Officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services say about 1/6 of vaccinations in the state happens in the stadium's parking lot, but the venue has yet to reach full capacity of 10,000 to 12,000 people a day.
Reaching full capacity would require more vaccine doses, which has been an obstacle for Arizona and most other states.
Republican governor Doug Ducey has held up the stadium as a model for other states trying to establish large vaccination venues, although some Arizona residents have criticized the online system for the lack of ease of access in making appointments.
The event comes as the Arizona Department of Health Services reports an additional 2,250 new virus cases and seven more deaths. The state has now seen 782,887 cases 14,055 deaths since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization is continuing to slide. Officials say 2,853 people with the virus are occupying 33% of hospital beds statewide. There are currently 828 virus patients taking up 46% of ICU beds.
Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers
Biden praises vaccination site
President Joe Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, delivers remarks on his "Buy American" initiative Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House
During the virtual visit, President Biden called the vaccination site the model for the country.
"I think they’re going to be coming to you to look at how you did it, because you’re doing such a good job," said President Biden.
President Biden has plans to have 100 million people vaccinated by the end of his first 100 days in office.
"We’re exceeding that number because of folks like you who are dedicated," said President Biden. "Before I pass it over to the Vice President, I just want to thank you."
The Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Dr. Cara Christ, as well as a site nurse, walked the administration through the site from start to finish. They say 8,000 people are being vaccinated daily at the site, including those who are receiving their second vaccine dose.
During the virtual visit, President Biden asked Dr. Christ what has led to the success. She credited help from the federal government and local partners.
President Biden also had a few questions regarding the so-called "+1" vaccinations that are going out.
"I was pleased and a little surprised to hear that if you are a caretaker, drive somebody or, I assume, If a family member drove someone who qualifies, they would also qualify as well," said President Biden.
Dr. Christ says this is a clinical decision, and it is dependant on vaccine supply.
"We want to make sure all of those around our vulnerable residents are protected," said Dr. Christ. "The other thing, we have a very large influx of winter visitors and migrant workers to Arizona this time of year, so Arizona has made the decision not to restrict vaccinations to residents. You can be from anywhere in the United States and we’ll vaccinate you."
President Biden also says the NFL has reached out to him, and they plan on doing something very similar at other stadiums.
Related Story: NFL writes to Biden offering all stadiums as vaccine sites
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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