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New COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments At State-Run Sites In Metro Phoenix, Tucson Filled In 20 Minutes

The online portal for vaccine appointments in Arizona
Arizona Department of Health Services
The online portal for vaccine appointments in Arizona.

It only took 20 minutes for about 25,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments to fill Wednesday morning when Arizona began allowing anyone over 16 to sign up. And the state wants to keep demand for vaccines high. 

Experts say about 80% of the population would likely need to be vaccinated to stop the virus from spreading.  About 16% of Arizonans are fully vaccinated right now. The state had previously planned to gradually open vaccine eligibility by age group, but the Arizona Department of Health Services was concerned when thousands of appointments this month were going unfilled. In addition to opening eligibility to all adults at many vaccination sites across the state, the department this week began an ad campaign to encourage more Arizonans to get vaccinated.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is our best chance at returning to normal. The vaccine is safe, effective, and free in every community across the state,” health department director, Dr. Cara Christ says in one ad, "Join the millions of Arizonans who have already been vaccinated and roll up your sleeve to get your shot.” 

With demand for vaccines surging again, the health department will open signups for another 83,000 appointments on Friday at 11 a.m., and will  continue opening more slots each week. The department also encourages Arizonans to check back each morning for cancellations. The registration website for state-run vaccination sites is podvaccine.azdhs.gov. Appointments can also be made by calling 1-844-542-8201. Hundreds of  pharmacies and clinics across the state are also offering vaccines. 

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.