A Shot Of Relief For Many Vaccinated At The Wolstein Center

Frank Cimino hasn’t seen his grandchildren in about a year.

The Parma resident got his first COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, and he said the first thing he’s doing after he gets his second shot is giving his grandkids a big hug and a kiss.

“I miss my grandbabies something fierce,” he said. “One more shot and I can spend time with my grandkids, I can spend time with my children. It’s a relief.”

Family was on many minds as people exited the Wolstein Center, Cleveland’s mass vaccination site, after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday.

"I just love hugging my family," said Wihletta McGowan, who had just gotten the vaccine and was looking forward to hugs to come after the second dose. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream] 

 “I want to be around my family, I want to hug my granddaughter. I just miss family gatherings,” said Wihletta McGowan, who had just been vaccinated.

“This whole past year has felt like I was living in the Twilight Zone, a never-ending episode of the Twilight Zone,” she said.

Mary Vicic of Euclid had tears in her eyes as she thought about the 15 months she’s gone without seeing her grandson.

“I want to go see my grandson, and until we’re all vaccinated that’s not an option, so one more month and I’ll get to go see him,” Vicic said. “He’s little, he’s not even five yet.”

Vicic, McGowan, Cimino and many others getting vaccinated at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University described an easy process from start to finish.

“Actually, I was surprised by how smooth it went,” Vicic said. “I was expecting that whole auditorium to be full of people. I walked right in, I got my shot within two minutes of sitting down. It went very quick and very smooth. Everyone’s super friendly.”

“It was very efficient. It went off without a hitch actually,” McGowan said. “They brought me right on through the line, no wait.”

McGowan has a wheelchair, and she said she had no trouble with accessibility. The center has a separate entrance for people with mobility issues. Wheelchairs are provided for those who need them. 

The main entrance is Gate B at the Wolstein Center. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

Cimino had been trying to get a shot for a long time, because he has health problems that could cause him to be hospitalized for any infection. His daughter, Amanda, helped him find his appointment at the Wolstein Center.

“For almost a month, I was trying to get an appointment, and I couldn’t get one nowhere,” he said. “So [Amanda] was helping me and she helped me get an appointment here at the Wolstein Center, thank God.”

Many others echoed the relief they felt at finding an appointment and having such an easy time getting the shot.

“Once this place opened up, I was able to get in right away,” said Jo Lanham, a Cleveland resident. “[It was] very orderly, very pleasant, I couldn’t think of a thing they can do better.”

Vicic said that while her experience was quick and easy, it might not be that way for others who go when there are more appointments scheduled.

“That’s just because it’s not super crowded today,” she said.

The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day for the next eight weeks.

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 Ave. – or by calling 833-427-5634. For additional assistance, Cuyahoga County residents can call the United Way’s 211 phone line.

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