COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Columbus landmark is transforming from an athletic training facility into a mass vaccination site.
Thursday, a pop-up clinic opened its doors at Ohio State’s St. John Arena to the first of 12,500 individuals receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The temporary site will host the first Pfizer dose clinic from Thursday-Sunday. The second doses will be available April 8-11.
“I couldn’t wait to get it,” said J.R. Westin.
“I just want to get back to normal and I want to feel safe,” Michele Thomas added. “So that’s why I did it and I feel grateful that it’s available to us.”
Westin and Thomas booked some of the first appointments at St. John Arena.
“I signed up the first day I became eligible,” Thomas explained.
Governor Mike DeWine announced both St. John Arena and the Cintas Center in Cincinnati would function as pop up mass vaccination sites. He explained the state is reallocating unused doses of vaccine originally set aside for long term care facilities.
Kroger is hosting the events, with help from the state and local health departments.
The clinic comes as the state prepares to open eligibility and expects to receive a large shipment of the vaccine. Some arriving to their appointments Thursday said they felt like they were being part of a solution.
“Oh my gosh just for the freedom it will hopefully bring in a number of weeks when it all settles in,” said John Blanchard. “And [I’m] excited to protect my fellow citizens, honestly.”
Amy Eaton added, “A lot of it had to do with just being responsible. I can tell you I’m a little nervous, but I’m here.”
The pop-up clinic required appointments, which filled up quickly. The Kroger vaccination portal shows no available time slots for the remainder of the clinic.