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Tucson slated to get state-run vaccination site on UArizona mall

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and the state health department announced Wednesday a state-run vaccination site will open in Tucson next week on the University of Arizona campus. It's the first state-run pod in Southern Arizona.  

This pod is being set up with a continued limited supply of the vaccine. 

The site on the UArizona mall will expand eligibility to those Arizonans 65 and older.

Currently, the county is giving shots to those 70 and older. 

Pima County Supervisor Dr. Matt Heinz worries the county doesn't have enough vaccine to make this work. 

"My immediate reaction was oh, great, maybe they're coming down with a truck full of 15,000 Moderna vaccines every week," Heinz said. 

Pima County was allotted only 17,850 doses of vaccine this week, 40 percent less than the past two weeks. 

"If that doesn't come with vaccine doses, that's going to be a problem," Heinz said. "It's going to make it more difficult for us to support the other sites we already have in operation."

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said Wednesday vaccine supply is at a premium but there is hope Arizona will get an increased allotment in the coming weeks. 

"Right now, unfortunately, there is no extra vaccine to be able to allocate," Christ said. "We always think that it's better to have the resources established, they have staffing, funding so that when we do get an increase in vaccines, those sites are ready to go to full capacity."

UArizona President Robert Robbins is excited to partner with the state. He hopes this site can eventually become a 24/7 facility that can give 6,000 to 8,000 shots a day.

But, Robbins knows the state has to get more doses for the vaccine site on campus to operate at full capacity. 

"If we're going to build this out and take advantage a 24/7 operation, they've got to be able to supply us the vaccine or we'll just keep doing what we're doing," Robbins said. 

Heinz worries this move could create more confusion.

The state-run pod is expected to open Thursday, Feb. 18 

Robbins said if residents have an appointment registered through the county, the appointment will be honored. 

Registration for this state pod begins on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 9 a.m. at podvaccine.azdhs.gov.  Those without computer access or needing extra help registering can call 1-844-542-8201 for assistance. 

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Eric Fink

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