At the height of its vaccine operation in March, the Javits Center distributed more than 13,000 COVID-19 shots in a 24-hour period. But demand at the Manhattan convention center (which opened in January) has since slowed, and the state-run hub will stop offering shots on Friday.
The move is part of a shift away from the outsized venues that characterized early inoculation efforts. Two other large-scale sites—one at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood and the other at SUNY Ulster—will also cease operations this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
Cuomo already shut down its vaccine hub at York College in Jamaica, Queens last month and additional sites will close in the coming weeks as part of the state’s plan to pivot resources towards more targeted efforts in areas with lagging vaccination rates, according to the announcement.
“We have achieved great progress in beating back the virus and getting enough New Yorkers vaccinated in order to begin getting back to life as we know it, and our mass vaccination sites were key in helping us get here,” Cuomo said in the statement.
About 60% of people have received at least one shot statewide, and 54% are fully dosed, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there are still pockets of the city and state where the rates are much lower. Only full vaccination can protect against the delta variant of coronavirus, which is now the dominant form circulating in the U.S.
The state’s strategy to reach people in areas with lower vaccination rates has involved opening pop-up clinics that don’t require appointments, such as the ones placed at early voting sites last month.
“We are eternally grateful to our health providers and our partners who continue to do the necessary work to get more shots into people’s arms,” Cuomo said. “If you still need to get your shot, the best way that you can show your gratitude is to walk into a site near you and roll up your sleeve.”