UArizona Preps for More Students on Campus, Has Vaccination Appointments Available

drive-thru vaccine clinic on UArizona Mall

Cars drive through the vaccination site on the University of Arizona Mall.

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

The University of Arizona will remain in Stage 2 of its instructional plan this week, with classes of 50 or fewer students permitted to meet in person. With the full support of its public health advisers, the university plans to move to Stage 3 the week of March 29, which will allow classes of up to 100 students to meet face to face, President Robert C. Robbins said Monday in his weekly virtual update on the university's COVID-19 status.

Meanwhile, the UArizona COVID-19 vaccination POD, or point of distribution, still has appointments available this week for people age 55 and older. Those eligible for vaccination can register and schedule an appointment through the Arizona Department of Health Services website. Those who need assistance can email or call 602-542-1000 or 844-542-8201 for help in both Spanish and English.

Beginning Wednesday, March 24, at 8 a.m., any Arizonan age 16 or older will be able to register for a vaccination appointment at state sites, including the UArizona POD, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced Monday.

New appointments at the state PODs will be released every Friday for the following week.

Robbins thanked the many volunteers who have been working at the university POD.

"I would like to thank the thousands – literally thousands – of volunteers, including students, faculty, staff and, importantly, members of or Southern Arizona community who have helped make the university POD so successful," he said.

Robbins also provided the following updates:

  • From March 15 to March 19, the university administered 8,756 COVID-19 tests, with 26 positives – a positivity rate of 0.3%.
  • As of Sunday, the UArizona POD had administered 80,220 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, surpassing 2,000 doses each day the past week.
  • Of the people coming to the UArizona POD, 20.52% have identified as Hispanic or Latinx, compared to 15.3% countywide and 9.3% statewide.
  • The Arizona Department of Health Service estimates that in Pima County, 72.5% of adults 65 and older and 38.4% of those ages 55-64 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with more than 400,000 doses administered total.
  • UArizona employees who are fully vaccinated can upload their vaccination record to the Campus Health website to be exempt from required weekly diagnostic testing.

The university also is partnering with the Maricopa County Public Health Department, the city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation on a community pop-up vaccination site for residents 55 and older, Robbins said.

The site, at Harmon Park in the south-central Phoenix area, started operating on March 17 and will run through March 23 and offers drive-thru and pedestrian-friendly appointments. Those in the Phoenix area who are eligible for vaccination can call 602-542-1000 to register, using the code PHXHARMON.

Robbins also applauded recent research co-authored by Michael Worobey, head of the UArizona Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, on the origins of the novel coronavirus.

The findings, published in the March 18 online issue of the journal Science, suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was likely circulating undetected for up to two months before the first human cases of COVID-19 were described in Wuhan, China.

"Even as we hope to turn a page in the fight against COVID-19 in the coming months, we need to learn from it and these data to be better prepared for future public health challenges, and basic research like this is a crucial tool going forward," Robbins said.