The Cardinals haven’t played in State Farm Stadium since December, but the site remains active 24 hours a day thanks to its role as a COVID-19 vaccine destination — one of the first in the country to get up and running on such a scale.
That’s why President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took a tour of the site — virtually, of course, given coronavirus protocols — on Monday.
“I got a call during the Super Bowl from the commissioner of football (Roger Goodell), offering us, the federal government, the 30 (NFL) stadiums,” Biden said told Dr. Cara Christ, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “So I think they’re going to be coming to you to look at how you did it because you’re doing such a great job.”
The State Farm Stadium site runs around the clock, administering approximately 7,000 vaccinations every 24 hours, manned mostly by volunteers who make up the 500 workers.
“The success of State Farm Stadium as a COVID vaccination site is a source of great pride for all of us,” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said. “That success is not only reflected in the number of vaccines being administered on a daily basis but also by the fact that it’s viewed as a model for other venues to follow. We’re grateful to AZDHS, all the partners on this initiative and especially to the 500 volunteers on-site each day. It’s truly a team effort and our entire community benefits from it.”
State Farm Stadium was originally used a couple of times for large-scale blood drives at the outset of the pandemic. It was then used as a COVID testing site, before morphing into a vaccination destination.
“The Vice President and I announced about 15 days ago that we were going to try and get 100 million shots in 100 days into the people’s arms,” Biden told Christ. “We found out we didn’t quite have the supply of vaccine we thought initially. We’re all set now, but we’re exceeding that number.
“I just want to thank you for your dedication. You’re saving people’s lives, short term and long term. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m looking forward to meeting you one day.”
Harris called the site “a model” of the partnership between government on the federal, state and local levels, a crucial collaboration when it comes to slowing the coronavirus’ harmful impact.
“There are folks around the country who are going to benefit from the work you all are doing on the ground in Arizona — people who may not know your name, people you may not meet, but are going to be forever benefited because of your around-the-clock, hard work,” Harris said. “You are taking this on as a personal mission on behalf of folks who need your help, and you are there to do what’s necessary.”