Looking for logistics of getting vaccinated at Lumen Field in Seattle
April 3, 2021 4:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm scheduled to get the COVID vaccine at Lumen Field in Seattle next week and have some anxiety about the logistics of it all. I live in North Seattle and don't drive downtown much, so this area is not familiar to me. I looked at the City of Seattle's page about the site but still have some questions that the page didn't answer. If you received the vaccine there, I have a few questions about the site/process in the more inside:

1) How long did it take you to park? Was it hard to find a spot?
2) How long a walk was it from parking to the vaccination site?
3) How well-marked was the site? Was it obvious right away or did you have to wander around a bit?

I'm trying to figure out how early I need to get there. Normally I just give myself way more time than I think I need (so a wrong turn somewhere isn't a catastrophe) and get places super-early, but the page says, "Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible."

3) The page says that I should NOT bring a "large bag or backpack." Did you bring a normal-size purse? Was that allowed? My purse is an organizational tool for me--I'm much less likely to lose stuff like my driver's license or my phone if I put them in my purse.

Basically all of this is stressing me out because it took a lot of time and effort to get this appointment, and I don't want to get turned away or miss it because of some dumb mistake I made.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I was vaccinated at Amazon, but from what I have read, you should have no difficulty with parking. The event center at Lumen Field has its own garage close by and it will be dedicated to parking for those getting vaccinations, and appointments should be set up so the available space isn’t overwhelmed. There will be lots of signs and probably lots of volunteers helping guide you.

The whole effort at these mass vaccination sites is to get people in and out as quickly as possible. You should be moving through the process the whole time, and the only time to sit and relax is the 15 minute observation time after getting your shot. Of course you’ll need to remove and jacket and roll up sleeves to receive the shot, and they don’t want people expecting to sit around, so the less you have to take off, put down, pick up and put on the better. A purse or everyday bag should be fine.

If they give you the opportunity to set up your second appointment, take it.

Congratulations on getting your first shot!
posted by lhauser at 6:53 AM on April 3

A few /r/seattle posts about getting vaccinated at Lumen Field: one two three
posted by ShooBoo at 8:15 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Parking was easy, the site was well-marked with multiple human guides at each decision point with resources in multiple languages. It's a maybe a 7 minute walk from parking.

They have metal detectors at the entry. I didn't think about this, and got to walk all the way back to my truck and back again, because I had a pocket knife in my pocket. So probably best to treat it like an airport security line, except you get to keep your shoes on and keep your water bottles.
posted by cnidaria at 9:13 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]

Also, they didn't seem stressed that I was initially 20-30 minutes early and then right on time after the pocket knife incident. Nobody batted an eye. I think the appointment times are more a logistical tool to keep constant flow going through the site, rather than like, "you're 10 minutes late, your appointment is canceled" like at a doctor's office.

But yeah, roll up 20-30 minutes early for your peace of mind, and you'll get checked in early and proceed through the line early. I didn't have to wait based on my check-in time.
posted by cnidaria at 9:16 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]

Oh, and yes, I brought my medium-sized purse. It was allowed, I just had to go through a separate "non-express" line (still no wait, since they were not at full capacity last week -- not sure what this week is like) and allow a guard to search my purse for weapons.
posted by cnidaria at 9:21 AM on April 3

FYI, I got vaccinated at the Rainier Beach site, so not the same location but the same operation, and I got there 15 minutes early with no problem, they just sent me right through.
posted by lunasol at 10:51 AM on April 3

+1 to "it's easy and well organized". Don't stress.

If you come through the 99 tunnel, take the left exit at the end of the tunnel, make the first left onto Royal Brougham Way, and stay in the left lane at 1st Ave. You'll see a blue sign next to the traffic lights above you that tell you which one. Cross 1st and go up the skyway, turning left into the garage - there will be both police and signs telling you where to go. EASY.

It took a good 5-10 minutes to get a spot, traffic is pretty heavy going in and especially going out, and the 5-10 minute walk (depending on your speed) sounds about right to get to the entrance lines. Everything is SUPER OBVIOUS and there are MANY people around, including many staffers who will help get you oriented if you need it.

Expect to wait outside in a long line for 15 minutes or more before you get inside (it goes WAY faster than you'd expect), but once in you'll quickly get to your station for the shot. As mentioned above, there's an express lane for people without bags, but otherwise your purse will be inspected but fine. And don't bring a pocket knife! The guy in front of me had a pocket knife and that caused A Thing because he apparently didn't drive and didn't know what to do with it.

No one cares if you're not precisely on time, and you won't be turned away! That line is in the rules so everyone doesn't, like, make an appointment for some morning and show up at the end of the day, or even the next day. Everyone was super upbeat and positive and the goal isn't "following the rules", it's "shots in arms".

Once again, DON'T STRESS. It's the finest example of the best of local government I've ever seen. It's full of people who want nothing more to get you vaccinated, and they will help you. Have fun!
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 11:05 AM on April 3 [11 favorites]

Yeah, Special Agent Dale Cooper nailed it. I was very worried about all the logistics too and about potentially being turned away, and everything was really easy (other than the brief delay because of my stupid pocketknife situation, whoopsie).

My vaccinator was this really lovely retired dentist. I warned him I might cry and it wouldn't be because anything hurt, he told me I was very brave, and I was like -- no, I'm not scared, I'm just so happy and relieved after everything we've been through this year. Then he gave me the shot and I tried not to cry too hard.

<3 Congratulations. You're going to get vaccinated, you're going to experience the amazing community spirit and civic pride, and it's going to be great.
posted by cnidaria at 12:55 PM on April 3 [4 favorites]

If you're GPS'ing, have your destination be the Lumen Field parking garage. It's pretty straightforward coming from North Seattle -- a few weird turns at the very end but even if you overshoot it, you can turn around. You can hang out in your car if you get there early.

The entrance is the WaMu theater, not Centurylink as you might think of it. Here's the line to get in.

There are bathrooms there, and people whose job it is is to make sure you know where you're supposed to be. The needles for the COVID vaccine are very narrow -- getting the shot was painless, for me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:03 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

I got my second shot at Lumen Field today.

Bag Search: I found the bag search to be very easy; they're primarily just looking for weapons. And they had the metal detectors dialed way down, so I was able to go through with my pockets full of metal things, and it didn't set it off at all. A screening and search at Sounders matches are a lot more intense, in comparison. For both of my shots, I took a clear shoulder bag, like the kind you would take to a sports event. I saw all kinds of people inside with their purses/shoulder bags.

Parking: I can't speak for parking, but I went down there and back for free on the Light Rail. Sound Transit is providing free rides to vaccine appointments at Lumen Field.

Signage: It is VERY obvious where to go; there's plenty of signs in front of Lumen Field on Occidental, directing you where to go. They even have signs telling you what vaccine you're getting. Considering there's no sports events at Lumen Field right now, if there's a crowd around there? It's probably either for the vaccines, or for a Mariners game - and the Mariners fans are going to stand out, with all of their Mariners gear and complete lack of bags. T-Mobile Field has banned all bags except for clutches, for the baseball season so far.

Timing: Because I finished all of my other errands in the ID today ahead of schedule, I was at Lumen Field 3 hours before my appointment time. They had no problem with that, and I got my shot right away. They might stagger it out, though, if there's more of a line.

The one thing that they wanted me to do was to remain masked the entire time I was there; I did bring an Americano with me, and I couldn't finish it until I was completely out of the building after my snot/waiting period. I thought I could sip on it during the waiting period, but I was more than happy to just wait and drink it later.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:37 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

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