Mass effort across Arizona results in millions of vaccinations

Mass effort across Arizona results in millions of vaccinations

Breanne Soukup, 36, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Arizona. The site was one of many – big and small – participating in the push to get shots into the arms of Arizonans over the past five months. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Breanne Soukup, 36, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Arizona. The site was one of many – big and small – participating in the push to get shots into the arms of Arizonans over the past five months. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Arizona began a massive effort to vaccinate residents against COVID-19 on Jan. 11, with the opening of its first state-run shot site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The 24/7 operation, which has since closed, administered more than 632,000 doses, becoming one of the largest mass-vaccination locations in the nation.

The site was one of many efforts – big and small – to get shots into arms. From operations at university campuses to events at small clinics on the Navajo reservation, doctors, nurses, members of the National Guard and everyday volunteers came together to help get Arizona closer to herd immunity and the normal life left behind over a year ago.

Cronkite News photographer Travis Robertson crisscrossed Arizona to document the undertaking that has succeeded in fully vaccinating 39% of those in the state.

A campus transformed

The University of Arizona established a vaccination site on its campus, offering drive-thru shots on University Mall and a walk-up site in the university’s Ina Gittings Building. On Feb. 10, Gov. Doug Ducey announced that the site would transition into a state-operated effort and that hours would be expanded. These photos were taken Feb. 1.

Dan Kimball, 71, waits in his car for 15 minutes to observe any side effects after receiving his first dose of the vaccine at the University of Arizona. His waiting period began at 11:08 a.m. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Left: A driver approaches the check-in portion of the University of Arizona vaccination site. Right: A car prepares to enter the drive-thru vaccination tent at the University of Arizona. (Photos by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Left: In a drive-thru tent at UArizona, health care workers prepare people for vaccinations. Right: Dan Kimball receives his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. He works at the university’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment. (Photos by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Left: Volunteers guide cars into the observation area on University Mall. Patients must wait 15 minutes so health care workers can monitor for adverse reactions. Right: A student volunteer goes car-to-car to answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photos by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Help for essential workers

Bashas’ grocery stores held a drive-thru vaccination event on March 22 at a distribution center in Chandler. The family-owned chain, with more than 130 stores mostly in Arizona, had received 500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and administered 300 of them at this event for its workers, considered essential during the pandemic.

Essential workers line up at the Bashas’ warehouse in Chandler to receive the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

A Bashas’ worker guides cars through the vaccination site. (Photos by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Registered nurse Elaine Crabb, 71, draws a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photos by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

A Bashas’ essential worker receives the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Vaccines for the vulnerable

More than 1,600 members of an especially vulnerable population – those with intellectual or developmental disabilities – got their first COVID-19 vaccinations at a weekend event on April 10 and 11. Vaccinations were administered inside a walk-in clinic at the Ability360 Sports and Fitness Center in east Phoenix. Second doses were administered May 1 and 2. These photos were taken April 11.

Vaccine recipients wait in the observation area at the Ability360 Sports and Fitness Center in Phoenix. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Left: Interpreters help individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing with their vaccination appointments. Right: A wheelchair sits above the observation area at the Ability360 vaccination event. (Photos by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Nadia Arellano brought her teenage son, Eric, to a vaccination event at the Ability360 Sports and Fitness Center. Eric has cerebral palsy, and Arellano, a registered nurse, was grateful to get him vaccinated apart from the general public. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Shots for a hard-hit tribe

The Navajo Nation confirmed its first COVID-19 case on March 17, 2020, after a man with symptoms sought help at the Kayenta Health Center, in the northern part of the sprawling reservation.

The nation soon became one of the country’s hotspots for the disease, with more than 30,000 cases and about 1,300 deaths to date.

More than a year after that first case, the clinic in Kayenta, which is 300 miles north of Phoenix, is providing vaccinations to tribal members. This event was on April 10, and provided Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to those 16 or older.

Patients check in at the Kayenta Health Center for vaccinations. Recipients could choose between the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or a two-dose vaccination from Pfizer or Moderna. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Left: Wanda Begay, chief nurse executive at the Kayenta Health Center, waits to deliver the next dose of vaccine. Right: Begay prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for a waiting patient. (Photos by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Left: Drusilla Hobbs, 38, a full-time student, receives information regarding her vaccination card. Right: Wanda Begay administers the vaccine to Savriono Cly, 16. (Photos by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Savriono Cly received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. “It feels good knowing that I probably most likely won’t get COVID-19,” he says. (Photo by Travis Robertson/Cronkite News)

Travis Robertson

News Reporter, Phoenix

Travis Robertson expects to graduate in spring 2022 with a concurrent bachelor’s degree in journalism and film/media production. Robertson, who has worked as a videographer for the State Press, is a digital reporter for Cronkite News this spring.

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