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About 800 people now getting COVID-19 vaccine at University of Arizona daily
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About 800 people now getting COVID-19 vaccine at University of Arizona daily

University responded to 10 off-campus parties, one with more than 100 people

After receiving the second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Pima County, Melissa Zukowski, medical director of emergency department at Banner-University Medicine Tucson, gives a thumbs-ups to her daughter Sophia Smallwood, left, at Banner-University Medicine North, 3838 N. Campbell Ave., in Tucson, Ariz. on Dec. 17, 2020.

The University of Arizona is ramping up its vaccination efforts, vaccinating more than 800 people daily on average.

The university has vaccinated almost 6,000 people so far and administered 810 vaccinations Saturday, UA President Robert C. Robbins said Monday. The university has a drive-through and a walk-through vaccination option for people in the 1B group, especially K-12 educators and university employees.

“The vaccine will help us reach herd immunity more quickly and have less illness and certainly less mortality in our population,” Robbins said “So we are trying to push out, trying to encourage, trying to educate more people about the importance of getting vaccinated.”

Robbins said the UA’s vaccination site is now running six days a week.

In the coming week, the Tucson Convention Center will be open as an additional vaccination site prioritizing educators, Robbins said.

He said his goal is that all UA employees are vaccinated by April 1, so the university can then focus on getting students vaccinated.

The university will remain in the first stage of its reentry plan for at least the next two weeks, Robbins said. In the stage only essential, hands-on classes are in-person.

Pima County opened the Kino Sports Complex for drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations. People who fall into Phase 1B of the vaccination process for the coronavirus disease can register and receive their first shot. Phase 1B includes people over 75 years old, educators and first responders. Video by: Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star Jan. 19, 2021

A consistent decrease in transmissibility is promising, but people need to continue to take precautions to continue the trend, said Robbins and Dr. Richard Carmona, leader of UA’s reentry task force.

University officials saw an increase in off-campus gatherings this week. The Campus Area Response team responded to 10 gatherings in the last week, an increase from seven the week prior. One of the recent parties had more than 100 people, said Carmona.

Five of the 10 parties had less than 20 people attending. Carmona said he’s aware people are suffering from COVID exhaustion, but urged everyone to stick to only spending time with people in small groups.

“The data we have here from the number of incidents is still problematic,” Carmona said. “Especially when we have groups of over 100 people. And it’s only one, but nevertheless it’s very dangerous. These are super-spreader events.”

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