Ohio’s Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University.
Credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Ohio’s first mass vaccination clinic was set up at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center.

A glimpse inside getting the COVID-19 vaccine

What it felt like to get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, I received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the mass vaccination clinic at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center. 

I was nervous at first because I’ve heard my share of stories from people who received the vaccine and said they were on their “deathbed” afterwards.

Overall though, I was excited because like everyone else living in this world, I’m sick of this pandemic and I will do my part to make myself and others around me safe.

I signed up for my vaccine just the day before and I was surprised to see the amount of available appointments. I had been worried that I was too late and one wouldn’t be available for weeks.

I woke up on the day excited. All of my roommates are fully vaccinated because they work in the healthcare industry. I was jealous that I wasn’t able to get it as early as them. 

I drove over to the Wolstein Center and found tons of cops directing traffic so individuals knew exactly where to park. I thought that was nice for the people that aren’t familiar with the Downtown Cleveland area. 

After getting out of my car, I saw an abundance of signs pointing me towards the entrance. The first thing I saw of the site up-close was a huge white tent with railing up for people to wait in line. 

Of course, there were tons of volunteers and National Guard members on the scene to point us in the right direction. Everyone around appeared excited to get the vaccine. It was amazing to see.

I checked in. That took less than 30 seconds. It was great to see how quickly this group of people were able to get all of us moving quickly. 

I was directed by members on scene and the arrowed signs down to the vaccination site where members of the military, police and volunteers were directing us to our seats that were socially distanced at six feet. 

It felt kind of weird to be in what seemed like an assembly line, but I know that it’s so things run quick and efficiently. 

I sat down and a soldier approached me. He asked me a few simple questions and scheduled my appointment for my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The process with him took about 10 seconds. 

Next came another man in fatigues. This was one administering the vaccines. He rolled his cart full of swabs, syringes and vaccines up to me and we exchanged hellos. 

He was friendly and quick. He told me I'd feel a small pinch but honestly, I didn’t even feel a thing. I’m also pretty good with needles in general; they don’t make me queasy when I’m getting a shot. He told me to wait 15 minutes and that I’d be good to go after that and then he went to the person behind me. 

The vaccination site had two people working each row of people. I thought this was great because it didn’t keep people on the site for long. Individuals were constantly walking out, sitting down, getting a vaccine, everything was a constant motion. 

After my 15 minutes were up I got up and went about my day. 

The whole process was just incredible. It was amazing to see so many people getting vaccinated and how organized the whole clinic was. 

A few hours later and I had not felt any side effects beyond a little soreness in my arm. It felt great to have that first shot done.

I will receive my second dose on April 21, and then I will be fully vaccinated. The mass vaccination clinic is just incredible. It’s one step closer to calming down this dreadful pandemic. 

To schedule an appointment you can go online here ODH - Check Vaccine Eligibility