As efficient as a Chik-Fil-A Drive through during a pandemic
As soon as Baltimore’s Mass Vaccination Site at M&T Stadium started scheduling vaccination appointments, a friend with fast fingers was able to secure an appointment for me. All she needed was my phone number, name, and date of birth. I should have given her my email address, too, but it didn’t matter. Be patient, you will receive your confirmation text within 24 hours of securing the appointment.
Appointments for M&T Stadium are released daily at 7am, 3pm, and midnight. You can access the appointment either by calling or online. Ravens Stadium gives you the lowdown on all the information here: https://www.baltimoreravens.com/stadium/covid-19-vaccinations/
There are two ways two schedule an appointment:
2) Call: 855-MD-GOVAX (1–855–634–6829)
People have had success with both methods.
Keep the following in mind when scheduling your appointment. According to the site you cannot be vaccinated:
- Until 14 days after the last time you received any vaccination
- Until 10 days after receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis
- If you have an active COVID-19 infection at the time of your appointment
- If you have received monoclonal or polyclonal antibody infusion or convalescent plasma within the past 90 days
The day before my appointment I received another text with an appointment reminder, a reminder to wear my mask, and a phone number to set up for MyPortfolio.
My Portfolio is the best way to confirm, schedule, and reschedule your appointment. It’s not necessary to set up an account and do an e-checkin, but it will definitely make for a faster checkin if you do it ahead of time. I debated about setting it up, but I’m very glad I did. Even though the people running the site are incredibly efficient, it still makes for a faster checkin to have answered the questions ahead of time on the site.
To set up the MyPortfolio account, you are given an email and/or text with a phone number to contact. The first time I called I was confused because the two options provided were not specifically for vaccination appointments. After calling a second time, I picked 1 and was transferred to someone who helped me set up the appointment. She asks for your name, date of birth, and email address. While you are still on the phone she asks you to check your email to make sure the link was emailed to you correctly. Once you’ve got the link, you can proceed on your own. But if you need help, I am positive that she will be happy to assist you. Everyone has been incredibly helpful and kind in my interaction with them. Pro-tip: call later at night to set up your MyPortfolio account. I only had to wait a couple of minutes before connecting with a live human being.
The set up is easy. After providing the information, you can do an e-checkin. I did mine the night before my appointment. There are a list of questions to answer about having covid, recent vaccinations, and any allergies to medicine. This helps to provide a smooth process for your vaccination appointment.
It’s recommended to show up no earlier than 15 minutes before your appointment. However, I arrived at M&T stadium 30 minutes early and was able to walk in easily.
They do not allow walk-ups. They confirmed my appointment at three different check points. If you do not have an appointment, you will not be vaccinated.
The directions to the parking lot are clearly marked and the national guard helps direct people. There are golf carts available to anyone needing mobility assistance to the stadium from the parking lot. You tell the guard who directs traffic and he lets someone know to pick you up.
You go through park in LOT B or C, someone will direct you and you walk into the stadium at GATE A. It’s clearly marked and you see statues of Johnny Unitas and Ray Lewis in the front.
As you go through the line you are asked: 1) Do you have an appointment? 2) the four questions about recent vaccinations and exposure to Covid. If it’s a no to the questions, you proceed to the next station where they check you in. Make sure to bring a valid photo ID. If you do an e-confirmation it’s literally seconds before you join the line to get vaccinated.
If you are hard of hearing or need help with communication, they also provide wipe boards so that you can communicate in writing if needed.
From the time I walked into the stadium until I received my vaccination was 38 minutes. Even though the line was long, it was constantly moving with clear signs about where to stand. Every few feet there was someone to direct or assist you.
You walk by the Ravens pub and towards the escalators. The escalators take you to the vaccination floor. There are also elevators available for those who need it. When you get to the vaccination floor someone will hand you an iPad to “Let the vaccinators know that you are on the floor.”
As the devices are collected, they are wiped down with disinfectant and handed out. I did have a moment of panic when I didn’t see my eligibility group on the screen. I was able to ask someone for help and confirmed my vaccination appointment.
I was led to my vaccinator. They confirmed my name, date of birth, and vaccination appointment. They asked if I was allergic to any medications, especially injectable medications.
Author’s note: I am allergic to three different medications, one of which puts me in anaphylaxis when administered. I did ask my doctor if it was okay for me to receive the vaccination and brought a doctor’s note giving me the okay to receive the vaccination. PLEASE check with your doctor if you are allergic to any medication.
I received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine so all I needed was the one dose. If you are given Moderna or Pfizer, they will schedule your next dose while you are sitting there. You do not have to register again. It’s a very streamlined system. You can’t choose your vaccination. You get what they have available.
After receiving the vaccination I was moved to a waiting area for observation. In a low-tech, but efficient way, they put different color sticky notes on the vaccination card to indicate if you need to wait for 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Yellow is a 15 minute wait in the green chairs, neon pink is a 30 minute in the orange chairs. The orange chairs are grouped together towards the back end of the waiting area. A nurse walks around to observe any reactions and to answer any questions. There are screens that tell you the time. Once your time is up, you’re done!
There is a “selfie station” where you can take your picture; which of course I did. From start to finish the entire process took 68 minutes, 30 of which were under observation. I have heard that sometimes the line is 2 hours long, but you are constantly moving so it doesn’t feel like you are stuck.
Baltimore has honed their system to keep patients moving and vaccinated. The staff was helpful, polite, and did I mention efficient? Everyone answered questions, directed you to the right spot, or anticipated your needs before being asked. There was never any confusion about what where to go or what to do.