NEW YORK – The New York National Guard helped vaccinate 10,367 people in a single day at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City April 11.
The team topped that achievement with 10,463 vaccinations the next day.
And as vaccine supply increased, so did the number of people coming to be vaccinated.
More than 419,000 vaccinations have been administered at the site, led by the National Guard as the incident command post in support of the New York State Department of Health.
“It’s all about the process flow,” said Army National Guard Maj. Michael Thompson from the command post staff. “It’s a team effort across the board. After doing this for over three months, we have refined the process, which enabled us to get to the point where we can complete 10,000 vaccinations per day.”
The results at Javits and other vaccination sites statewide mean that as of April 15, more than 50 percent of New Yorkers 18 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The efforts of the interagency team leading the vaccination effort, both National Guard and civilian, provides the foundation for the success of the site, said Dr. Douglas G. Fish from the New York State Department of Health and the deputy incident commander at Joint Task Force Javits.
“Doing over 10,000 vaccinations during a 10 1/2-hour period was proof of the collaboration, teamwork and the effort required between the military, the Javits Center and New York State Department of Health teams to be able to pull off a feat of that size with relative ease and to have New Yorkers feel comfortable in that setting,” Fish said.
The capacity for the high volume of care was always there, said Amy Gaiser, a data entry staff contractor who assists people arriving for their vaccine appointments.
What was required was the additional supply of vaccines and the flow of appointments, starting with the early April scheduling of 24-hour appointments when vaccine supplies increased with the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“We streamlined the process and the teams are working very well,” Gaiser said.
The volume increase and efficiency was noticed by the public, Gaiser said, and speaks to the high morale of the military and civilian staff.
“As our staff speak to the public, they are receiving many compliments about the process,” she said.
“The culture of this place is a culture of kindness,” said Dr. Daniel Schwartz from the state Office of Temporary Disability and a medical review consultant.
“It feels great to be making a difference in this world,” said Larissa Amado, a registered nurse administering vaccines at Javits, “and I suggest that everyone get vaccinated.”
Army National Guard Col. Michael Bice, the Javits task force incident commander, said the progress in vaccinating people was gratifying.
“It is a true testament to the dedication and teamwork of Joint Task Force Javits,” he said.