PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona has plenty of COVID-19 vaccine to meet demand and appointments are no longer required at the state-run vaccination sites in metro Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Yuma, the Department of Health Services announced Tuesday.
The department made the announcement a day after it said that 60,000 appointments remained available for this week at the seven sites statewide.
The department said it was “encouraging people to visit any time during operating hours, if that’s their preference, to get their COVID-19 vaccine. However, making an appointment is still the best way to complete your vaccination appointment as quickly as possible."
It's apparent from vaccination administration data that the state has “accommodated a large share of Arizonans who are able to schedule appointments well in advance,” said Dr. Cara Christ, the department's director. “State-run sites continue to vaccinate many thousands every day, and there is now room for those who simply want to walk in at their convenience.”
The department said making an appointment has the advantage of reducing on-site registration time because all the required information will already be in the system.
However, “as we move into the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination, with supply meeting and even exceeding the current demand, we don’t want making an appointment to be a barrier to getting vaccinated," Christ said. "So please feel free to drop by.”
More than 2.8 million people, or around 40% of Arizona’s population, have had at last one vaccine shot, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, while more than 2.1 million are fully vaccinated.
The state on Tuesday reported 682 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight more deaths, increasing the pandemic totals to 860,169 cases and 17,276 deaths.
The number of patients hospitalized statewide for virus-related reasons increased slightly to 615 with 185 of those in the ICU.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had ranged between 500 and 600 for about three weeks.
This story has been corrected to reflect that 40% of the state's population has received at least one vaccine dose.