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Eight Unusual Covid-19 Vaccination Sites Around the World

From Disneyland to a Singapore airport, these are some of the surprising places being used as immunization centers

Public health officials are transforming spacious, open-air venues like Disneyland into "mega-site" vaccination centers. (CrispyCream27 via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0)
smithsonianmag.com

Mass distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine is underway, albeit more slowly than anticipated: Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10.3 million Americans—3.1 percent of the United States’ population—have received the first of two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Worldwide, officials have administered more than 30.5 million shots in 43 countries, according to Bloomberg data.

As the number of people who qualify to receive the vaccine grows, distribution plans are also getting bigger: stadium-sized, to be exact. Cities across the U.S. have transformed Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Football League (NFL) stadiums into vaccination centers, with health officials taking advantage of the large, open spaces to administer more doses while maintaining social-distancing measures, reports Ahiza García-Hodges for NBC News. Participating venues include Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium, the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park and the Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium.

Opening large vaccination centers, or “mega-sites,” should help improve the U.S.’ sluggish rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. Officials had hoped to administer doses to 20 million people by the end of 2020, but delayed federal aid, limited supplies and complicated storage requirements for the vaccines have complicated efforts, per Selena Simmons-Duffin and Pien Huang of NPR. This week, the CDC recommended that states immunize people aged 65 and above, as well as 16- to 64-year-olds with comorbid conditions like diabetes, in order to prevent doses from going unused.

Ballparks and football fields aren’t the only surprising sites administering vaccines. Below, learn more about eight unconventional vaccination centers in the U.S. and abroad.

Citi Field (New York City)

The home of MLB’s New York Mets will begin providing immunizations the week of January 25, according to Angélica Acevedo of amNewYork. Officials expect to administer between 5,000 and 7,000 vaccines daily.

“We welcome all New Yorkers,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday. “We even welcome Yankees fans.”

Citi Field Stadium With Crowd
Crowds head to Citi Field before a 2019 game between the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers. (Tdorante10 via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0)

Disneyland (Anaheim, California)

Officials started offering vaccine doses at Disneyland this week, writes Matthew Ormseth for the Los Angeles Times. The theme park is Orange County’s first “super” vaccination site. Plans for four other large-scale vaccination centers—officially called Point-of-Dispensing (POD) sites—are being finalized, according to a statement.

Etihad Campus (Manchester, England)

In a January 10 statement, the Manchester City Football Club announced the establishment of a vaccination center on its Etihad Campus (home to the Etihad Stadium, the City Football Academy and other state-of-the-art athletic facilities). Nurse and staff training took place on-site in preparation for the rollout.

Last April, the British soccer club’s campus housed a drive-through virus testing center, among other offerings centered on providing “rest, relaxation and exercise” during the pandemic, per the statement.

Epsom Downs (Epsom, England)

A horse racecourse located south of London, Epsom Downs is currently open 12 hours a day to administer vaccinations, reports CBS News’ Charlie D’Agata. As Cliff Taylor, an 88-year-old former jockey who used to race at the site, tells CBS News, “The sooner we all get our vaccination, the sooner we can get rid of this horrible disease.”

Epsom Downs Horse Racecourse Finish Line
The finish line at Epsom Downs racecourse (Framax97 via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Armory (New York City)

The 60,000-square-foot indoor track will serve as a vaccination site for the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, reports Nancy Haggerty for the Journal News/LoHud.com. It was previously slated to host high school winter track meets.

Changi Airport Terminal (Singapore)

An international airport terminal that has been closed since May opened for immunizations on Wednesday, according to Kentaro Iwamoto of Nikkei Asia. Terminal 4 is home to one of Singapore’s first two vaccination centers; the other is located in the Raffles City Convention Center.

Changi Airport Terminal 4
Terminal 4 in Singapore's Changi Airport (Renek78 via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0)

An ice rink (Berlin, Germany)

The Erika Hess Ice Rink was announced as one of six Berlin vaccine centers back in November, according to a statement from the city. Other sites mentioned at the time included a shuttered former airport and an indoor track cycling arena.

A waterpark (Coatbridge, Scotland)

As the Time Capsule’s website notes, the currently closed waterpark features attractions such as the Tornado Tantrum and the Storm Chaser Flumes. Now one of more than 1,000 vaccination hubs in Scotland, notes Peter Swindon for the Sunday Post, it will also offer the newly approved Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

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