Under a whale, skeet shooting, shopping for veggies — cool places to get your COVID-19 shot

You can get it at the Indy 500 speedway, under a giant blue whale, while shooting skeet or at a baseball park or soccer stadium. As vaccinations lag, health officials are looking at unexpected vaccination venues to entice people to roll up their sleeves and join the immunized.

With 46% of Americans now vaccinated, the number of people lining up is beginning to slow. Getting more signed on will require mobile units, pop-ups and walk-ins, state governors told President Joe Biden on Tuesday.

“It’s going out, it’s trying to be innovative, trying to figure out how do we take it directly to people,’’ Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said.

One way that innovation is showing up is fun and inventive places to get vaccinated, venues that are definitely not your local medical center.

“Vaccinating 100 people right now here at the health department is more difficult than it was to vaccinate 5,000 a month ago,” said Graham Briggs, director of Olmsted County’s health department in Rochester, Minnesota. “The biggest thing I’m concerned about right now is that the arms are drying up.”

Here are a few of the nation’s more interesting current venues, and one international location that was too good to pass up:

At the Indy 500

During the Indianapolis 500, fans with tickets can get vaccinated inside the gates. Local residents can get their shots on 16th Street outside the gates. The vaccination clinics are being held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, also known as the Racing Capital of the World. The vaccinations throughout May are being coordinated by the Indiana Department of Health and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cars leave the garages after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, March 5, 2021, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Under a blue whale

New York City residents can get vaccinated under a 94-foot model of a blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History. This is the only way you can stand under the 21,000-pound model that hangs from the ceiling right now, as the ground floor of the Hall of Ocean Life is currently closed to everyone except those getting vaccinated. Museum visitors have to go to the upper level to see the iconic model.

People rest in the observation area, at right, after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations under the 94-foot-long, 21,000-pound model of a blue whale, in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, Friday, April 23, 2021.

In a New York train station

Also in New York, eight train stations will host COVID-19 vaccination clinics in New York City and its suburbs in hopes of convincing riders and employees to get their shot. They include Penn Station and Grand Central Station in Manhattan. Those who get vaccinated will also get either a free one-week subway card or two one-way local train tickets.

At an aircraft museum

Atlanta’s Delta Flight Museum is closed to the general public but you can get in if you get vaccinated there. Housed in two 1940s-era aircraft hangars at Delta’s headquarters, it’s a designated historic aerospace site and features historic planes dating to the 1930s.

While skeet shooting in Ill

Get a shot, take a shot. In Illinois, people can get their COVID shots at the 1,600-acre World Shooting and Recreational Complex, then spend the day shooting 100 free targets of trap, skeet, or sporting clays.

Veggie shopping at the farmers’ market

Fresh strawberries. New potatoes. The COVID-19 vaccine. Iowa’s Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market reopened May 1 after a long pandemic shutdown. It will offer the bounty of local farms, fresh-baked goods, live music and a vaccination station run by Hy-Vee Healthy, a Midwestern supermarket chain.

Major League Baseball (and Soccer)

In Seattle, Mariners fans can get vaccinated while they attend home games at T-Mobile Park. Last week, 160 people got their shots over the nine innings of a game against the Baltimore Orioles. A block north, the Seattle Sounders’ of Major League Soccer will be offering vaccinations at Lumen Field during its games.

Aeryal Thomsen, left, receives her COVID-19 vaccination before a game between the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles on May 5 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

At the track

The storied Aqueduct racetrack in New York is also home to a walk-in vaccination clinic. The site has been open since January and has so far provided more than 180,000 doses of vaccine and operates seven days a week.

Dracula’s castle

In Transylvania, you can get a shot in the arm rather than a stake through the heart. Romanian health officers have set up a COVID-19 vaccination center at the 14th-century Bran Castle, the inspiration behind Dracula’s home in Bram Stoker’s 19th-century gothic novel “Dracula.” The site’s vaccination certificates feature a fanged medical worker brandishing a syringe.

Contributing: Aleszu Bajak, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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