As of May 3, about 44% of people in the U.S. have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccination shots. A lot of these injections are administered in typical locations like hospitals, pharmacies and doctor’s offices. But sometimes, vaccination is happening in more interesting places: repurposed movie theaters, empty sports stadiums and abandoned malls or stores.
Below are some of the more unusual locations people have gotten their COVID-19 vaccines.
1. In A Former Woolworth Store
“I walked into the mall, and staff from the local medical center were directing people to different storefronts depending on first or second dosage and vaccine type. My first and second doses were both at the old Woolworths. For me, the unsettling part was the fact this was all happening next to the few small stores that remained open. It was an odd juxtaposition of people out shopping and people who were getting vaccinated. Like, one activity is to prevent the spread, and the other hastens it. It was just weird.” ― Nicolás Esparza, broadcast coordinator
2. At An Abandoned JCPenney
“My vaccination took place at the JCPenney that’s at the neighboring town, West Lebanon, New Hampshire. The experience was somewhat surreal: Standing in line in an abandoned and empty massive store while people [received] directions and shots from men in uniforms (National Guard) and masks felt post-apocalyptic. But it was also very efficiently organized. Everything proceeded quickly and smoothly.” ― Udi Greenberg, historian
3. In A Fancy Hotel Ballroom
“First time I have felt such hope in a long time. Got my vaccine in a ballroom, so I’m feeling extra bougie. But most of all, I am feeling thankful.” ― Brittany Lute, registered nurse
4. In A College Football Stadium
“I got mine in the Champions Club at the University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. As an [alumna] of the University of Florida, I’ve been to the stadium many times to cheer on the Gators during football games. I would have never imagined being there to get a vaccine during a global pandemic.” ― Elsbeth Russell, content marketing manager
5. In A Six Flags Parking lot
“There were two entrances ― one for vaccines and one for people going to the park, which was funny. We drove through several thousand cones to the overflow parking lot and got in line. We drove up, rolled down the window, and got the shot without getting out of the car. Then they had us wait for 15 minutes for observation –– they tell you to honk your horn if you don’t feel well. … It was super easy, extremely well-organized, and definitely the best experience I’ve had at a Six Flags.” ― Amanda Ach
6. By The Concession Stand At A Movie Theater
“It was simultaneously funny, surreal and touching to get my vaccine in a building intended for such a different purpose. I have no interest in going to a movie in public before it’s safe, but being in the theater getting my dose next to a dormant candy case reminded me of one of the many reasons why I’m on board with everything we can do to stop the pandemic.” ― Katie Jones, technical writing and knowledge manager
7. Inside A Concert Venue
“It was surreal to be vaccinated at the Theater of Living Arts [in Philadelphia] since the last time I was there was for a concert that I attended with friends. The pandemic took so much away from us all that, frankly, it made me hopeful again to think that I might be enjoying fun experiences with the people I love the most in the same place I was getting a life-saving vaccine.” ― Karen Hogan, commercial development strategist
8. At A Former Greyhound Racetrack
“I received my Pfizer vaccinations in the parking lot of a former greyhound racing track-turned-poker room and simulcast [in Tampa]. The site was once the location of a grand hotel whose main attraction was the ‘curative waters’ of nearby Sulphur Springs, but the springs and the river have been fouled from years of pollution and runoff, and the hotel long demolished. The kind of dystopian transformation the place has undergone over the years seems to fit well within the context of this pandemic, but it was nonetheless a surreal experience to enter the chamber of FEMA tents lined with military personnel to be vaccinated.” ― Jeannie Mounger, Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Florida
9. Inside Former Medical Barracks
“My vax site was barracks for doctors for the next-door hospital. The hospital is still there, but obviously, there are no beds and stuff in the [barracks] building anymore. It’s essentially a hollowed-out house. It’s at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The shots were given in what I assume were bedrooms, which I think made it easier for them to have privacy for each patient. It also made it very easy to figure out where to go since there were more walls, etc. to guide us in a loop. I think it was perfect for appointment vaccinations.” ― Nicole Anderson
10. At A Rural Fire Department
“The earliest sign-up available to me was in Gibson, Georgia, 90 miles away. I was so excited to get an appointment, I didn’t mind driving. I received the shot in my car, after which a sheriff’s deputy [directed] me to a parking spot and said he would let me know when my 15 minutes were up!” ― Charlsie Kate Paine, attorney
Stories have been edited for style, clarity and length.