Lydia Mcaliley found joy in the hours-long line. She says the wait was worth every second to get her COVID-19 vaccination.
"It was a wonderful day. I feel blessed," she said.
She joined thousands of people in Philadelphia to get their first shot from the consortium, which opened the Liacouras Center at Temple University from Friday 12 p.m. to Saturday at 12 p.m.
"It feels good to know all of these people are building their immunity because of our efforts. So maybe a little tired physically, but not weary," said Dr. Ala Stanford, who founded the consortium.
She says the crowd never relented. Overnight, they brought patients into the arena in waves of 30 and out of the cold. The consortium had 2,500 doses to give and realized that wouldn't be enough. The city delivered another 2,000 doses around 1 a.m.
"We couldn't anticipate that there were going to be hundreds, literally hundreds of people here, between the hours of midnight and six, and there was no downtime at all in this 24 hour period," she said.
Members of the Philadelphia Eagles staff along with mascot Swoop surprised the hundreds waiting in line early Saturday with Dunkin' coffee and hot chocolate.
The consortium opened the clinic to the city's most vulnerable; those in Phase 1b who also live in 20 Philadelphia zip codes with high COVID positivity rates.
"It was much easier to take than the flu shot or the pneumonia shot. I didn't even feel it. I was like, 'Oh, you put it in there already!'" said Bryan Jeffrey Daniels from South Philadelphia.
He and his sister initially came to the line Friday, but with the snow and rain, decided to leave and come back.
"Knowing that I got the shot, I'm happy," said Diann Jones from West Philadelphia. She waited four hours Saturday morning. She had two family members die because of the virus, and she's been waiting for the day she could get protected.
"This is something I've been praying for, at least to get a vaccine so we can go back to some sense of normalcy," she said.
Dr. Stanford says everyone vaccinated in this clinic will have their second shot scheduled for the week of March 22.
The consortium will work with the city and the Liacouras Center to decide whether there will be another marathon clinic.