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State opens its first indoor, drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site in Mesa

A new site north of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is expected to eventually give out 3,000 to 4,000 COVID-19 vaccines a day.

Arizona is transitioning to new venues to distribute COVID-19 vaccines while helping those in line for the vaccine avoid the summer heat.

A new site is inside Dexcom’s giant building north of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The drive-thru, indoor site opened Monday and is expected to eventually provide upwards of 3,000 to 4,000 vaccines a day.

Phasing out old outdoor sites for new indoor ones

The Dexcom site is replacing the state-run site that was at Chandler Gilbert Community College.

The state’s site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale will also be transitioned into an indoor site at Gila River Arena.

On Monday AZDHS director Dr. Cara Christ announced the state will also be opening up an indoor, walk-up site at WestWorld in Scottsdale later in April as well.

RELATED: Arizona opening new state-run COVID-19 vaccination site at Scottsdale's WestWorld

“Moving indoors allows us to protect our staff, our volunteers and our patients,” Christ said.

Christ said the current plan is to keep these big vaccine sites open for the next two to three months.

Indoor sites will help withstand Arizona heat 

Christ said part of the long lines at state vaccination sites last week was due to technology overheating.

“The heat – we’re having some issues with the iPads,” Christ said. “So, ASU brought in additional iPads so we can cycle them more frequently because they overheated.”

However, the indoor sites, like the one in east Mesa will help protect the technology too, as well as the vaccine.

“The vaccine does not like to be warm, so keeping it at an indoor temperature is much more desirable,” Christ said.

State surpasses 1 million vaccines given at state-run sites

On Monday, the state also announced they had officially given out more than 1 million doses at state-run sites in Arizona.

In total, about 3.7 million doses have been given out across Arizona to 2.3 million Arizonans. AZDHS is reporting 1.5 million Arizonans are fully vaccinated.

All Arizonans 16 and older became eligible for the vaccine about two weeks ago. 

However, despite so many more Arizonans becoming eligible to get the vaccine, some state site appointments took longer than expected to fill up. As of Monday morning, Christ said appointments were still available at the University of Arizona and Yuma points of distribution.

“What I think we’re seeing right now is supply starting to meet demand,” Christ said.