Vaccination mega sites – an aerial perspective

While the country entered the final phase of the fight against the pandemic, it was important to capture the unprecedented efforts that the health care communities put into place to help mitigate the virus’ lasting effects.

As the vaccines became more available and their supply steady, large Points of Distribution (PODs) were created in major metropolitan areas of the US. California – the most populated state served as the pioneer in the organization of these large scale inoculation events. This mass distribution system – despite the rocky start – proved to be very effective, and other states have since followed suit.

This photo project attempts to capture the largest vaccination sites across the country. I consider this an ongoing project, as the global vaccination effort has only begun. Some of the sites pictured were documented in their early stages when the vaccination supply was still limited. I plan to revisit these locations once the supply chain becomes more steady and predictable and when the eligibility is extended to the general public.

The photographs were taken from a small airplane, overflying the locations at a high altitude. This point of view allowed me to capture the magnitude of the scale of these efforts. In some of the cases, multiple images were combined into one, which allowed a wider reach without degradation of details. Such high-resolution images allow their presentation in large format print.

This photo story was featured in The Guardian on April 14, 2021
Ballparks, stadiums and race tracks: US mass vaccination sites – in pictures

San Diego – Petco Park

San Diego’s largest vaccination site – home of the Padres baseball team – has served over 225,000 Moderna vaccines since January 10, 2021 until it’s closure on March 20th. The operator, UC San Diego Health has chosen San Diego State University’s Viejas Arena to continue the vaccination efforts, while Petco Park prepares for the start of the baseball season.

Wide view of San Diego Petco Park – city's largest vaccination site
Close-up of Tailgate Parking Lot – Petco Park vaccination site

Los Angeles / Downtown – Dodgers Stadium

The second largest metropolitan area of the US is a host to the first large scale vaccination supersite in the country. The stadium commenced its inoculation operation at the end of January 2021, previously serving as one of the largest COVID-19 testing sites. This city-run operation is capable of administering up to 12,000 doses per day. As of March 17th, over 3.3MM doses had been administered throughout LA county, to which the stadium has the largest contribution.

Vehicles line up at Dodgers Stadium POD awaiting vaccination

Los Angeles / Eastside – Cal State

This FEMA-supported mass coronavirus vaccination site opened on February 16, 2021 amid the shortage of vaccines at other city-run supersites. It was one of the first federally run centers in the US. Located at California State University Los Angeles it has the capacity to inoculate up to 6,000 people per day. University is the perfect location for such a mass vaccination site because it will serve communities that have largely been forgotten during the pandemic.

Detail view of Los Angeles Cal State Vaccination Site
Wide view of Cal State Vaccination supersite

Los Angeles / Inglewood – Forum

The Forum in Inglewood was selected as another major vaccination site in LA county. Conveniently located near the LAX airport, this county-operated site opened on January 19, 2021 and it is capable of administering up to 18,000 vaccines per day. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has announced new express lane service that will help seniors and paratransit clients with access to this location.

Los Angeles – Crenshaw Christian Center

Also known as the FaithDome, it is one of the largest churches in North America, built in 1989 by the televangelist Frederick K.C. Price, who recently died from COVID-19 complications in February 2021. Prior to serving as a permanent place of vaccination for LA County, it also served as a testing site starting in March 2020.

Wider aerial view of Los Angeles Faith Dome with the vaccination clinic
The FaithDome serves as vaccination mega site in Los Angeles

Valencia – Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain site opened at the end of January 2021, and serves the residents of Santa Clarita and San Bernardino. The amusement park will reopen under California’s pandemic guidelines at the start of April, and Los Angeles County will continue to operate a COVID-19 vaccination site in the park’s main parking lot.

Close-up photograph of Six Flag's parking lot set up as vaccination supersite
Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park has been selected as a vaccination supersite serving the residents of Santa Clarita and San Bernandino

Los Angeles – County Office of Education

LA is the second-largest school district in the nation, with about 465,000 students actively enrolled. Also one of the highest concentrations of low-income students in the state, LAUSD is getting more vaccines per staff member than smaller, more affluent districts. LA County receives about 200,000 vaccines a week (data from March 2021). Health officials are allocating about 11% of these doses to education and child care workers.

Los Angeles Office of Education vaccination site serves the frontline sector of Education and Childcare

Anaheim – Disneyland Toy Story Parking Lot

As Anaheim’s Disneyland remains closed, it’s massive parking space south east of the park serves as a vaccination site. Initially created as a walk-in site, it is being configured for use as a drive through. Not much action was observed during the survey, due to the supply shortages of the vaccine that day. The Disneyland will reopen on April 30th, and it is not clear if the vaccination site will remain in operation.

The POD at Disneyland Resort operates from the Toy Story Parking Area southeast of the Park

Atlanta – Delta Flight Museum

The Delta Flight Museum was selected as one of Georgia’s four mass COVID-19 vaccination sites beginning February 22. Located at the airline’s general offices near the airport, this mass vaccination site is well positioned to provide convenient access for communities who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Delta Flight Museum located at the airport has been  set-up as mass vaccination site serving the people of Atlanta

Austin – Circuit of the Americas

The 3.4-mile motor racing track – home to Formula 1 – now serves as the largest vaccination site in Central Texas, capable of administering up to 10,000 vaccines each day. “We’re ready to go. We’ve got the Chick-fil-a system set up out here; we just need customers… so send us some vaccines,” said Bastrop County Judge Paul Pope. COTA offers free rides to the site.

Austin's Circuit of the Americas Parking Lot A set-up as vaccination supersite

Charlotte – Bank of America Stadium

Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte hosted this mass vaccination event on March 09-11. Over the course of 3 days, over 14,000 vaccines were administered, with a similar drive for 2nd doses to be hosted at the end of the month.

People line up to receive the vaccine at Charlotte Bank of America Stadium on March 9, 2021

Houston – NRG Stadium

The FEMA-supported vaccination site at NRG Park opened on February 15 with capacity to fully-vaccinate approximately 126,000 people. It is currently serving an average 6,000 vaccinations per day, operating seven days a week.

Wide view of Houston NRG Stadium set up as vaccination supersite

Phoenix – State Farm Stadium

Home of the Arizona Cardinals, this vaccination site reached an important milestone of administering over 500,000 vaccines by March 15, 2021. Operating around the clock since its opening on January 11, this site has administered an average of 9,000 doses per day. In anticipation of hotter temperatures, all outdoor Arizona sites will switch to nighttime operation only, or move indoors.

State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, AZ outside clinic will move indoors in April due to rising temperatures.
Wide view of State Farm Arena of Phoenix, AZ, with the Covid-19 vaccination clinic set up int the stadium's parking lot

Phoenix – Municipal Stadium

This second state-run vaccination megasite in Arizona opened on February 1, 2021. At the end of March, Arizona has administered close to 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 1,831,456 individuals, including 1,136,413 who are fully vaccinated. Officials will extend the eligibility for vaccination to all adults at the end of March 2021.

Wide view of Phoenix Municipal Stadium, with the vaccination Point of Delivery set up in the western parking lot of the venue

Tucson – University of Arizona Mall

As the University of Arizona enters Stage 3 of their reopening plan (up to 100 students) the UA Mall remains an active Point of Distribution for all residents above the age of 55. At the time of this writing (March 26, 2021), UA has administered over 80,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, surpassing 2,000 doses each day of the past week.

Vaccination site at University of Arizona Mall in Tucson

Dallas – Fair Park

Located in South Dallas, this site of the Texas State Fair has been selected as a location for this FEMA-run vaccination clinic. This drive through site is capable of administering up to 12,000 vaccines per day, making it one of the largest in the state.

Drivers line up to receive their first dose of Covid vaccine in Fair Park, Dallas, TX
Vaccination effort underway at Fair Park, Dallas, Texas
Close-up of vaccination Point of Distribution at Dallas Fair Park

About the author

Filip Wolak is a NYC-based professional photographer, pilot and flight instructor (CFII). Actively flying his 40+ year old Cessna 172 ("Rusty"), combining his passions and capturing the beauty of the world seen from this unique perspective. Winner of multiple prestigious photography awards, his aerial work has been exhibited in the US and in Poland – his native country.