Cincinnati-area residents might be lining up at Paul Brown Stadium this spring or summer for COVID-19 vaccinations. That's a shift from last month when officials said a mass vaccination site was unlikely at that time for the downtown Cincinnati venue.
"The Bengals have had discussions with the Cincinnati Health Department as well as TriHealth about the possibility of using the stadium as a vaccination site," the Cincinnati Bengals said in a statement The Enquirer obtained Tuesday afternoon. "They are currently working with us to explore how the stadium could be utilized in their vaccination efforts.”
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TriHealth, which is providing COVID-19 vaccines at locations across Southwest Ohio, is the official medical provider for the team.
The city health department has been evaluating different locations for mass vaccination sites as the weather changes, and Paul Brown Stadium has always been one of the options, officials said.
Nothing has been finalized, a health department spokeswoman said. The stadium holds more than 65,000 seats but it is unclear how many individuals would be welcomed for vaccines at any one time.
National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell on Feb. 5 offered all 30 of its game venues to President Joe Biden for vaccination sites. Teams have opened their doors for distribution in Phoenix, Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Houston, Miami and Foxborough, Massachusetts.
In early February, local health officials said the stadium and neighboring Great American Ball Park weren't likely to be used at that time – because Ohio designed its early vaccination program to avoid large sites, aiming to get the vaccines to as many health clinics and providers as possible and to limit the distance for people to travel.
But with more vaccine doses becoming available and improving weather, outdoor venues may have become more attractive.