The logistics of vaccinating the global population against COVID-19 involve complicated scientific processes, complex infrastructure, governmental coordination, and collaboration with multinational companies. Despite these challenges, we’ve come a long way in the last few months. As of February 18, 2021, approximately 194.44 million COVID-19 vaccination doses have been administered around the world. Since some vaccines require more than one dose, the number of fully vaccinated people is likely lower than this. In addition to the seven vaccines that have rolled out in different countries, 70 vaccines are currently in clinical development and 181 are in preclinical development according to the World Health Organization. Vaccines are critical to curbing the spread of COVID-19, so our progress thus far is encouraging, even if the initial rollout has been slower than anticipated.
As countries around the world aim to ramp up vaccine distribution, unexpected places are being transformed into COVID-19 vaccination sites. From theme parks and waterparks to baseball stadiums and airport terminals, you never know where your immunization will occur. In fact, one community is even inviting artists to use COVID-19 vaccination sites as galleries to share their art with the public. To learn more about these unusual initiatives, simply scroll down.
Out-of-the-Box COVID-19 Vaccination Sites
As more people qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine and more vaccine is available due to increased production, distribution plans are expanding and utilizing larger sites for vaccination centers. Health officials are able to take advantage of these expansive spaces, which allow them to administer more doses of the vaccine while maintaining social-distancing strategies. As reported by Smithsonian Magazine, the following unconventional sites have been used as vaccination centers in countries around the world:
- U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums, including Citi Field in New York City, NY; Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA; and Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX
- U.S. National Football League (NFL) stadiums, including Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL, and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ
- Disneyland in Anaheim, CA
- Etihad Campus, a football club in Manchester, England
- Epsom Downs, a horse racecourse south of London, England
- The Armory, an indoor track in New York City, NY
- Changi Airport Terminal in Singapore
- Erika Hess Ice Rink in Berlin, Germany
- Time Capsule Waterpark in Coatbridge, Scotland
According to USA Today, high-volume vaccination centers are expected to become more commonplace in the United States in order to reach the Biden administration’s goal of vaccinating 1.5 million Americans per day.
While large sites allow for large-scale vaccination, they are complicated operations. For example, in California, where both Disneyland and Dodger Stadium are being used as vaccination sites, state officials have noted the following challenges: vaccine shortages, screening and tracking down people in order to schedule appointments, timing the thawing and preparation of doses (enough that the line moves quickly, but not so many that the doses expire), finding enough clinicians to staff the sites, and more. In the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Temporary, Satellite, or Off-Site Vaccination Clinics, the agency notes that large-scale clinics require “added logistical and technical considerations.”
An Injection of Culture in Germany
In the Bavarian town of Straubing, two yearly art exhibitions were cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdown measures. Hoping to share their art with the public, local artists proposed an idea: Why not share their art at the town’s COVID-19 vaccination site, which was established at a trade exhibition center located just 500 meters from the art exhibition site? Their artwork had already been installed at the art exhibition site, so it simply needed to be moved the short distance. After gaining the approval of the mayor and the head of the local vaccination site, 42 local artists set up 84 pieces of artwork at the vaccination site. The impromptu commercial exhibition was set up in less than two days with assistance from the local fire brigade. It opened on December 27, 2020.
As tens of thousands of visitors are expected to visit the facility, the art will have a large and varied audience. While people wait for their turn to receive the vaccine, they can enjoy the sculptures and art installations in the reception room. The paintings are hung on the curtains dividing the space and on the walls of the rooms where patients are injected with the COVID-19 vaccine, providing a pleasant distraction for anxious patients. As an added benefit, while art galleries are closed and many artists are struggling financially due to pandemic restrictions, the exhibition will provide an opportunity for the participating artists to sell their art.
With this exhibition, the artist community in Straubing has inspired artists in several other municipalities in Germany to conduct similar events at vaccination centers in cities such as Bottrop, Freising, Hattingen, Kronach, Regensburg, and Trier. The exhibition in Straubing will continue until June 2021.
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