Javits Center Reaches COVID-19 Vaccinations Milestone
On March 24, New York’s Javits Center hit an important milestone for the health of its community. Since opening its doors on Jan. 13 as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, the Manhattan convention center has distributed more than 250,000 vaccines at the record rate of more than 14,000 per day.
Considered the largest vaccination center in the U.S., according to Javits officials, the site is a massive effort carried out in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health and the New York National Guard. Hundreds of medical, military and civilian teams have worked in tandem to establish, maintain and improve vaccination operations.
“Our vaccination center has reinforced the importance of convention centers during this global crisis, and our employees are proud to facilitate such a historic operation so we can all get back to business,” said Alan Steel, president and CEO of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which runs the Javits Center.
Led by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State’s vast distribution network of vaccination sites have administered more than 7.8 million doses, including those at the Javits. The state is currently working through Phase 1a and 1b groups, and New Yorkers wishing to check their vaccine eligibility can go here.
Located on Level 3 of the convention center, the vaccination site features one main entrance — 11th Avenue at West 36th Street — for all patients with pre-scheduled appointments. To reduce potential wait times, those arriving for a vaccine are asked to enter the building no more than an hour prior to their pre-scheduled appointment.
Once inside the building, all patients receive temperature checks before entering the registration area. Once his or her information is confirmed and recorded, the patient is then directed to a vaccination area where a medical professional administers the COVID vaccine. Those who have received the vaccine are then asked to wait 15-30 minutes to ensure no adverse reactions.
In keeping with the over-achieving New York archetype, Javits plans to double its vaccination operations soon, with the hopes of inoculating 500,000 New Yorkers within the next two months, according to Steel.
“We now see vaccination as a way of ensuring that the building can return to its former glory of once again [hosting] meetings, conferences and trade shows,” Steel said in his March 24 State of the Center address. “We expect to be in this kind of condition for the next several months. I would anticipate that by June we will have enough into this vaccination program for us to think that being back to a convention center is possible but I’m not sure that we’ll be in [that situation] until about September.”
To hear more from Steel about the return of meetings and events, and new developments at and around Javits Center, watch his State of the Center 2021 address here.
Prior to operating as a vaccination center, the Javits Center served as a COVID-19 field hospital designed to reduce the burden on local hospitals during the height of the pandemic in March of last year. Constructed by Javits Center employees in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the temporary medical station was the first of its kind in the U.S. and served as a model for similar facilities across the nation, treating nearly 1,100 patients.
Considered the busiest convention center in the U.S., the 35-year-old Javits Center serves as New York City’s primary venue for large conventions, trade shows and special events, and is home to many of the world’s top 250 trade shows. A major expansion project that will add 1.2 million square feet of total event-related space to the venue is underway and scheduled to be completed this year.