Stadiums are flexible spaces in that they routinely host events such as concerts and races in addition to the sporting events that are their primary purpose. The pandemic has expanded the flexibility by driving both NFL stadiums and MLB ballparks into service as vaccine distribution centers.
NBC News reports that with decisions for how to distribute COVID-19 vaccines being left to states, some are opening up doses to groups beyond frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, teachers and essential workers that were initially prioritized.
Arizona’s State Farm Stadium — home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals — has transformed into a 24/7 vaccine distribution site, as that state grapples with the highest average daily case rate per 100,000 people in the country.
“Our new vaccine site in Glendale will rapidly expand the number of Arizonans getting vaccinated,” Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement announcing the opening of the site. “We need to get these vaccine doses out of freezers and into the arms of Arizonans who want it, and our new site will speed up that process.”
Stadium vaccination sites are thought to be a strategy for distributing the vaccine more quickly. As of Wednesday morning, the CDC reported that more than 10.2 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine in the U.S., and that 29.3 million doses have been distributed.
Other venues that are distributing vaccines include Citi Field in New York, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Marlins Park and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Petco Park in San Diego and Minute Maid Park in Houston. The New York Times reports that Yankee Stadium will also become a vaccine site.