The mass vaccination site at Javits Center in Manhattan will close on Friday, July 9, after almost six months in operation, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
The closure is part of a rollback of the large-scale vaccine venues as the state focuses on areas with lower rates of people getting their shots, according to Cuomo.
“As we continue our mission to make the vaccine accessible in every community and to focus our efforts on the areas with lower vaccination rates, we are proceeding with the downscaling of mass vaccination sites so that we can shift resources to where they are needed the most,” Cuomo said in a July 7 statement.
The Empire State will also close its sites at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island and SUNY Ulster upstate that day.
The state-owned 1986 convention center on Manhattan’s far West Side was twice repurposed by during the coronavirus crisis.
First, it was turned into a temporary 2,500-bed medical center operated by the United States Army during the pandemic’s first peak in the spring of 2020 to ease pressure on the city’s hospital system. It closed after a little over a month having treated only 1,000 patients.
The complex returned to the spotlight in January 2021, when state Health Department officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency transformed it into the mass vaccination site, where healthcare workers inoculated thousands of New Yorkers.
The state started phasing out the vaccine sites on June 21, including York College in Queens, diverting its efforts instead to hyper-local pop-up sites in areas with low vaccination rates.
Cuomo lifted nearly all COVID-19 restrictions on June 15 when 70% of adults got at least one dose of the vaccine. For all eligible New Yorkers, including those 12-years-old or older, the state didn’t pass that benchmark until Tuesday, July 6.
The center also underwent a whopping $1.5 billion expansion of its main convention hall in the hopes of soon hosting trade shows and other events once again.