(AP) — The Big House has been transformed into The Big Vaccine Clinic.
A few hundred University of Michigan medical professionals and students who work in health care settings were receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday at Michigan Stadium, one of the nation’s largest sporting venues.
Known as The Big House, the on-campus stadium welcomed 100,000-plus maize-and-blue-clad fans on pre-pandemic fall Saturdays.
The Michigan Stadium clinic is not open to the public.
Those who visited on Thursday’s opening day did so by appointment only and fall into the vaccine priority group Phase 1A category.
Michigan Medicine already has vaccinated thousands of health care workers and hopes to safely and efficiently deliver all vaccine doses received from the state through the opening of the stadium and other spots.
“What became clear is that we needed first a venue with a lot of space,” said Dr. David Miller, chief clinical officer at University Hospital and the cardiovascular center. “And the stadium met that need. And we need a lot of space, because we need to be able to achieve social distancing, both for the team members and community members here to receive the vaccine, as well as for our vaccination teams.”
As more vaccine becomes available, the Michigan Stadium site eventually is expected to be able to host up to 2,000 vaccinations a day.
Sara McCrea (meh-KRAY’), a registered nurse from nearby Dexter, Michigan, who was vaccinated at the stadium, said the entire process took only 10 minutes.
“It’s been great. I got to come in and see this beautiful building. Everybody here has been really friendly, very easy to work with. The process is very quick. There’s plenty of parking. I’m happy,” she said.