Receiving COVID-19 vaccine at M & T Bank Stadium, new mass vaccination site


Photo courtesy Young-A Kim

Young-A Kim holds her vaccination card at the exit of the M & T Stadium on Mar. 19.

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) has worked with the state of Maryland and private partners to transform the M & T stadium into a mass vaccination site last month. “This vaccination site will help the state recover from the physical, emotional, and financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Incident Commander for the M &T Bank Stadium mass vaccination site Jason Max said.

According to the Baltimore Ravens website, the vaccination site is staffed with nearly 300 staff members daily at the highest capacity, including nurse practitioners, pharmacists, scheduling staff, registration and personnel. 

Sign-up process 

My dad registered him and me to receive our vaccines a week before the appointment. Through this website,  you can sign-up to get vaccinated. The website acts as a link portal that frequently updates with new information on vaccination site availability. Make sure to check the eligibility for different locations to make sure you qualify for the vaccine. 

Vaccination Procedure

On Mar. 19 at 11:21 a.m., I got vaccinated with a Pfizer vaccine dosage at the M & T Stadium in Baltimore.

The process started when my dad and I arrived at the M & T Bank Stadium at 10:13 a.m.; our arrival time was listed on the document at 10:45 a.m., so we were considered early. After parking in lot B, we were directed to the entrance of the stadium. A Maryland National Guard stood in front of the lot, ensuring that only individuals at the given time slot would enter. 

A long line was guided by metal safety barriers past the outdoor entrance. Although the line was long, it moved quickly. There were distancing stickers on the floor; however, individuals did not use them and were not distanced six feet apart. I was surprised to see all the strangers so close to each other for the first time in a year. Although my father and I were scheduled to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we ended up receiving Pfizer because of the shortage. The 30-minute line led to a small, white ventilated tent where Maryland National Guard members were seated at about six different desks. They all checked individuals’ IDs. After our IDs were checked, we were directed into a new area composed of about four lines. The individuals in the lines were handed tablets by a National Guard Member where individuals filled out e-registration checklists pertaining to personal information about age, allergies, and reactions to vaccinations. Because I was considered a minor, I had to enter a separate line on the side where help desk nurses filled my information for me directly onto a computer system. 

After having the protocol information filled out by the help desk, we were led to a line for an elevator going up. This line was short and passed quickly. Once up the elevator, we entered a lounge-like floor. There was another set of lines, about four. A personnel employee stood at the front directing individuals in the lines one at a time to either the left or right of the large floor. Further ahead in the lines was where the vaccines were being distributed. 

Because no photos were allowed, I’ll try to describe the procedure to the best of my ability. In the middle of the lobby was a large island where nurses were preparing the Pfizer dosages by hand. On both the left and right, there were about 40 desks lined up parallel to each other, with two nurses assigned to each. While one nurse gave the vaccine, the other checked IDs and put information onto a digital computer. The whole process of actually getting the shot took no more than 10 minutes, more like five. After receiving the vaccine, people had to wait in chairs in another section for 15 minutes to see if there were any reactions. During this waiting period, individuals were able to sign up for a second appointment with workers who walked around with portable kiosks. That was it, the whole vaccination process! We were then directed to leave. 

Thoughts on process

The wait for the vaccine was approximately an hour to two-hour wait. The actual process of receiving the vaccine took no longer than a couple of minutes. Because of the number of people, I expected to wait even longer, but the system was efficient, and I was in and out of the stadium within two hours. 

Post-vaccination pain, symptoms

Surprisingly, the shot did not hurt at all. I absolutely despise shots of any kind. Flu shots

are the worst. But the Pfizer shot did not feel like anything at all. The shot felt like a fun stamp; I did not feel any needle whatsoever. Also, the pain afterward wasn’t severe. I did not feel too sore. Flu shots definitely hurt much more than the COVID-19 vaccine.