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Pima County leader hopes more people will be vaccine eligible with appointments still available at UArizona pod

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UA Vaccine POD

TUCSON (KVOA) - There are still some COVID-19 vaccine appointments available through the upcoming weekend at the University of Arizona pod.

A local doctor thinks more people could soon be eligible to get their shots.

When the state pod opened at the University of Arizona last month, 12,000 appointments were booked in under three hours. The Arizona State Department says this time around, there is still some availability as university officials hope it's become easier to find vaccine appointments.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, around 2,000 appointments through March 14 are still up for grabs for Arizonans 65 and older as of Monday afternoon. A spokesman with the health department said these available appointments must be booked over the phone. 

The University of Arizona hopes this is a sign that things are getting easier. 

"It's been frustrating and people have been used to not getting through the appointment system, but I think those kinks have been worked out now," Holl Jensen, UArizona vice president of communications. "I think the problems of not having appointments and not being able to get appointments has been rectified." 

The university expects to have delivered 50,000 shots into arms at this pod by day's end. 

"We'll open additional appointments once we figure out what our allotment is coming from the state this week," Jensen said. 

Pima County supervisor and emergency room doctor, Matt Heinz believes with more vaccine supply coming to our community, more people could soon be eligible.

"Government, communications and food service workers and other essential workers, they're probably going to come online and be invited to start signing up by the end of the week," he said. 

Heinz said it is vital we start expanding the pool of essential workers.

"We need our letter carriers to do things," the Pima County supervisor said. "We need you all in communications to continue to do your part to get this message out there and you can't slice deli meat from your living room." 

Now, the state-run pod is open to people 65 and older. The state-run pods in Maricopa County currently serve individuals who are 55 and older. 

With some appointments still available this week here, there is no word yet from the health department on whether this site will expand to 55 and up.

To register for an appointment, visit podvaccine.azdhs.gov or azhealth.gov/findvaccine, or call 1-844-542-8201.