As early as 4:30 a.m., staff and volunteers for Tennessee's largest single-day vaccination effort were arriving at Nissan Stadium to prepare for the day ahead. Ten thousand people were expected to drive through the eastside parking lots from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, among the largest one-day efforts in the United States to date.
The total number of vaccines distributed: 10,107.
"As more and more people get vaccinated, more and more activities we were used to before all of this can resume," Dr. Jahangir said. "Just next week, we will open up outdoor places like Nissan Stadium to 33 percent of capacity, and hopefully very quickly it will be 40 percent and 50 percent, and hopefully by the time we get to kickoff of the first Titans game, we'll be back to near normal capacity. That's what I'm excited about, that's what gives me hope, and events like this will help us get there."
Appointments for the event were completely full two hours after they opened, spaced out in time blocks to assist with traffic flow. Cars weaved their way through parking lots A – D, directed by volunteers and the Metro Nashville Police Department.
In attendance at the event were Nashville mayor John Cooper, Metro Nashville Coronavirus Task Force chair Dr. Alex Jahangir and Tennessee Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tim Jones. Also present to greet those waiting in line were Titans cheerleaders and mascot T-Rac, as well as mascots from Nashville SC, the Nashville Sounds and Nashville Predators. In addition, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. arranged for live bands to perform throughout the day.
Nissan Stadium joins several other NFL stadiums using their facilities as vaccination sites, as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pledged in a letter to President Biden that all 30 NFL stadiums would be available for vaccination efforts in coordination with local, state and federal governments.
"One of the things that we pride ourselves on is that we want to be committed to serving this community not just when we're entertaining fans on game day," said Titans Sr. Vice President of Business Affairs & Chief Legal Officer Adolpho Birch. "Some of the events that we've been able to host and be a part of are really consistent with that, and that would include things like tornado relief, providing the COVID-19 testing site which we've done for a number of months now, food distribution, a staging area presentation after the bombing on 2nd Avenue, you could go on and on. All of those items and events are things that are designed to really connect us to this community and make sure that we're doing that in a positive and meaningful way."
On March 20, 2021 Nissan Stadium hosted the first mass vaccination event for Metro Nashville in the city's fight against COVID-19. (Donald Page)