NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) — On Saturday, the Metro Nashville Public Health Department opened their first mass-vaccination site at the Music City Center downtown.
While the venue can fit hundreds more people, vaccines will only be issued to those who have appointments. When MPHD is allotted more vaccines from the state, they’ll open up more time slots.
The Metro Nashville Public Health Department opened a smaller clinic in East Nashville just before Christmas, but soon realized it was not big enough. They could get 300 to 400 people in a day, but now that they have those people coming back for a second dose in addition to first dose appointments, they needed something much more efficient.
On Saturday, around 700 people age 75+ received COVID-19 vaccinations, include 97-year-old WWII veteran Claude Hillenbrand.
“It’s a good feeling, very good feeling,” Hillenbrand said. “The shot wasn’t bad. I’ve had some hurt a whole lot worse. I didn’t much feel it. She done a real good job and everything!”
The vaccination site at Music City Center is a socially-distanced, staged process. It starts with marked lines around the exhibit room, then goes into registration lines, information and paperwork chairs, the vaccine tables and then discharge.
Laura Varnier, MPHD Director of Nursing and Clinical Services, says everything ran smoothly on their first day inside the new mass-vaccination site.
“We have been thrilled to be able to partner with Music City Center and move into this location. We were over at the 5th Street location for about a month and we knew right away we were going to outgrow this space,” Varnier said.
Friends Irene Boyd and Jacque McBride carpooled to their vaccination appointments together. They’re thankful for the opportunity and are encouraging others to sign up when the time comes.
“I lost a nephew age 49 here in Nashville on September 11th to COVID. He left a wife and children, so just anything to encourage anyone to get it so we can protect one another as well as ourselves,” McBride said.
“I’m just happy for the nation. I just hope that as many people that can get the vaccine and are willing to do it will do so. I hope those that are hesitant will take the risk,” Boyd said.
Parking is free for those with appointments at Music City Center and will be in parking structure 2. They will have golf carts and wheelchairs to help anyone who needs assistance.
Right now all appointments for those who are 75+ are booked. To get on the waiting list, click here.
To get on the standby list, which anyone can apply to, send an email to COVID19VaccineStandby@Nashville.gov with your name and phone number.