AMSTERDAM/BRUSSELS/PARIS — Earlier in the COVD-19 pandemic, convention and exhibition centers around the world were called into use as health care facilities to relieve pressure on overwhelmed hospitals. As we move into the recovery phase, many of these same centers are being asked by public health authorities to convert to use as temporary vaccination sites. While this is a good opportunity for convention centers to help their local communities, it also entails considerable planning and training to meet the new and different challenges involved in everything from logistics to security.
That’s why by the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC), the International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA) and the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) recently released an updated version of their “Good Practice Guide: Convention and Exhibition as Temporary Vaccination Centres.” The guide is based on input from AIPC, ICCA and UFI member facilities collected in February and March of this year, and buttressed by insights from the associations’ joint Safety & Security Task Force. The new guide complements earlier guides that addressed requirements for reopening for business events, COVID-19 for convention centers and the use of centers as temporary emergency facilities.
What the Guide Includes
The guide covers initial considerations such as the main ways convention centers are being used as vaccination sites — drive-thru or indoors, or a combination of the two— the main functional areas that need to be set up; and how long it takes to do the setup. It also provides guidance on how centers in countries that don’t have a detailed setup plan can shape their own, including the principal tenets of emerging good practices in layout and design. In addition, the guide lays out the basic principles needed to develop a separate security plan, as well as how to handle staffing requirements and related concerns, such as vaccinating the facility’s staff, and some likely challenges that could pop up.
“As vaccination strategies roll out worldwide, event venues are once again playing a critical role in economic recovery as they transform themselves into vaccination centers,” said AIPC President Aloysius Arlando. “This collaborative endeavor, which features knowledge and insights from industry experts around the world, serves as an important reference for event venues to safely establish and operate a vaccination center within their own spaces. It also firmly demonstrates the commitment of the business events industry to support the safe return of face-to-face events.”
“Our industry’s support to the vaccination effort also benefits our whole industry ecosystem: Rolling out vaccinations around the world in a fast and effective way will speed up the return of face-to-face events. We help to protect lives — and livelihoods, for society, for our customers and for everyone in our industry,” confirms Anbu Varathan, UFI President.