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How To Get A COVID Vaccine At Cleveland’s Wolstein Center

Starting Wednesday, thousands of people will receive COVID-19 vaccines at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland. Vaccines will be given out on the floor of the convocation center, which can hold about 500 people at a time. [Anna Huntsman / ideastream]
Starting Wednesday, thousands of people will receive COVID-19 vaccines at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland. Vaccines will be given out on the floor of the convocation center, which can hold about 500 people at a time. [Anna Huntsman / ideastream]

For the next eight weeks, thousands of people will visit the Wolstein Center in Cleveland to take a shot at preventing COVID-19 and ending the pandemic.

On Wednesday, March 17, the clinic, which is Ohio’s first mass vaccination site, officially opens to the public at 8 a.m.

Officials hope to vaccinate about 3,000 people the first day and eventually ramp up to 6,000 vaccines per day by Friday.

If you have an appointment at the clinic or are hoping to schedule one soon, here is what you need to know – from signing up, to what to expect when you receive your shot.

General clinic information

The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week.

The general public should enter the Wolstein Center at Gate B, at the corner of Carnegie Avenue and East 21st Street, officials said. Those who are not able to walk down steps or need accommodations such as wheelchair access should enter at Gate A, which faces Prospect Avenue.

If people arrive at the wrong entrance, they will be instructed to the correct entryway by volunteers, officials said.

Ohio National Guard Brig. Gen. Rebecca O’Connor advises people to arrive no sooner than 30 minutes before their scheduled appointment.

“We’re going to have 6,000 people flowing through this facility a day, and so to make sure that we manage that flow, [and] don’t have too many at one point and not enough... we kind of need people to stay within that half an hour of arrival,” O’Connor said. 

Individuals will first line up outside Gate B at the corner of Carnegie Aveenue and East 21st Street before entering an indoor queue at the Wolstein Center mass vaccination site. The goal is to vaccinate 6,000 people per day once the site is up and running, officials say. [Anna Huntsman / ideastream]

How do you sign up?

People can sign up for an appointment by visiting the state’s online registration portal and typing in the Wolstein Center's address – 2000 Prospect Avenue – or by calling 833-427-5634. For additional assistance, Cuyahoga County residents can call the United Way’s 211 phone line.

Appointments go fast, and most are already filled for the first two weeks of the clinic. However, a few slots are still available this month with more to come, according to the state’s website.

Some doses are held back each week for community partners and churches to distribute to underserved groups in the area, and if there are leftover doses from that pool, they will re-open on the website on Sundays, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

How do you cancel an appointment?

If an individual scheduled online through the state’s website, they can visit  gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/cancelto cancel their appointment. This link can also be found at the bottom of their appointment confirmation email. The link will take them to a webpage where they are asked to enter the cell phone number or email address they used when booking, as well as the appointment confirmation number. If they need to schedule for a new time, they can do so on this page as well. 

Will the clinic take walk-ins?

The site is not able to accommodate walk-in appointments at this time, O’Connor said.

What happens if there are leftover shots?

Any extra doses left at the end of the day will be given to people already on a waiting list with the state health department, O’Connor said.

“If we have any vaccinations left over at the end of the day, or if we have a high no-show rate, we can call in those people or maybe open up some appointments,” she said.

The state is working with local health departments in the area to coordinate those waitlists, she added.

What should you expect when you arrive?

Individuals will first wait in a line outside of Gate B at the corner of Carnegie Avenue and East 21st Street, or Gate A on Prospect if needing special accommodations. They will get their temperature checked at the door and must have a temperature below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit to enter.

After checking in, they will stand in an indoor queue that goes through the lobby, down the auditorium steps and onto the floor of the convocation center, where 480 chairs are lined up.

After checking in at the entrance, people will stand in an indoor queue line, pictured here, before entering the convocation center arena and heading down the steps to get the vaccine. [Anna Huntsman / ideastream]

The vaccine administrators will then bring the shots to those who are seated, O’Connor said. 

“The vaccinators will come with carts, rolling them down the aisle, and administering the vaccination at that time,” she said. “The customers will then wait their 15 or 30 minutes, depending on their health screening, and then they will be able to leave.” 

The goal is for people sitting in the front row to be done with their 15-minute waiting period by the time the vaccinators have reached the back row, she said. The flow of vaccinations will be continuous, with about 500 people getting shots per hour, she added. 

For people who are not able to get down to the convocation floor or need other assistance, a separate area in the building is set up with about 80 chairs, where the vaccine flow process will be the same, O’Connor said. 

After receiving the shot and being cleared from the waiting period, people will exit the building and their chairs will be cleaned, moving on to the next people in line, she added.

Where can you park?

Individuals can park in several CSU lots surrounding the Wolstein Center for free during the clinic. The City of Cleveland released a parking map that shows all of the free lots as well as street parking restrictions.

How can you get there?

The Greater Cleveland RTA and Laketran in Lake County are offering free transportation to the site. There is a bus drop-off at the corner of East 21st Street and Prospect Avenue and a ride-share drop off around the corner by Carnegie Avenue.

What if the person getting vaccinated does not speak English?

Interpreters for six different languages will be on-site to assist non-English speaking individuals, O’Connor said, with translators available for Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian and Mandarin.

To assist non-English speaking individuals, some clinic instructions are written in other languages, pictured here, and several interpreters will be on-site to assist. [Anna Huntsman / ideastream]

Which vaccines are being administered?

The Pfizer vaccine will be distributed for the first three weeks, with second doses given out weeks four to six. The clinic will then switch to the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine for weeks seven and eight.

How do you schedule your second dose?

People who receive the Pfizer vaccine at the clinic will be scheduled for their second dose when they get their first shot. The appointment will be the same day of the week and time as their first shot, just three weeks later, O'Connor said.

Who is running the site?

The clinic is being operated in partnership with several state and federal agencies, including the Ohio National Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as volunteers and staff at CSU.

Active-duty members of the U.S. Army Airborne 101 st Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky are in charge of administering the shots. Members of the Ohio National Guard, many of them from Brook Park, will also be at the site to assist.

Starting Friday, March 19, Ohioans aged 40 years and older will qualify, as well as individuals who have cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and obesity.

Anyone aged 16 and up will become eligible for a shot starting March 29.

If you have additional questions ideastream's health team is answering as many questions as possible. You can  send us your questions with our online form, through our social media  group, or call us at 216-916-6476. We'll  keep the answers coming on our website and on the air.

Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.