DGermany’s exhibition centers play a central role when it comes to corona vaccination. This is shown by a current WELT survey of trade fair companies across the country. In Nuremberg, Leipzig and Berlin, but also in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Bremen and Münster, it has already been decided that a vaccination center will be set up on the exhibition grounds there. In other cities such as Cologne, Essen and Hanover or Friedrichshafen, Stuttgart and Dortmund, corresponding discussions are ongoing, some of which are already well advanced.
The arguments in favor of the exhibition center are the same everywhere. “The exhibition halls offer enough space to set up a large vaccination center there,” says Claudia Bernhard, the Bremen Senator for Health. In addition, they are easily accessible from a traffic point of view, both for traveling by public transport and by car.
The exhibition companies are happy to give up the space. Because there has not been a single event at most locations since March – and accordingly no sales. If a vaccination center is now built in the respective halls, a rent is due for the required area, which at least once again brings small income to the trade fair organizers, who are badly affected by Corona. And that for several months.
Center in Frankfurt / Main ready for use soon
In some places things should go fast now. In Frankfurt, for example, the health department plans to have the vaccination center ready for use from December 11th. Office manager René Gottschalk is confident and refers to the good cooperation between authorities and emergency services in recent months. “With the trade fair, we also have another competent partner at our side.”
The health department is currently determining the personnel requirements for the vaccination center on the exhibition grounds in the city center, in which, according to the city of Frankfurt, at least 60 percent of the residents are to be vaccinated against the virus.
Things should be just as fast in Münster, where the north hall of the Exhibition and Congress Center Halle Münsterland was selected by the crisis team. “According to current planning, several vaccination routes are planned there, over 2000 vaccinations can then be carried out there per day,” the city said.
Discussions in Cologne and Dortmund
The choice of location in Cologne, among others, has not yet been decided. In the cathedral city, locations are still being discussed in the town hall, but there are positive signals for the trade fair company. “We would be prepared,” the company says.
There is also discussion in Dortmund. “As a trade fair, we are only one of the various possible locations for such a project,” said a spokesman for the trade fair company but covered and referred to the decision-makers at the Dortmund fire service.
Friedrichshafen is already a step further. The district office there has clearly spoken out in favor of a vaccination center as a location for the exhibition grounds and the management of the exhibition company has already approved this plan. Now those responsible at Lake Constance are still waiting for the necessary approval from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs, according to the district office.
It looks similar 200 kilometers further in Stuttgart. “The talks as to whether the Stuttgart exhibition center could be used as a vaccination center have not yet been concluded and are in full swing,” said a trade fair spokeswoman. “We are in an exchange with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the district office responsible for us.”
And also in Hannover the move to the exhibition center seems likely, although there has not yet been a corresponding decision. “The authorities involved are currently working on processes and a concept,” says a trade fair spokesman, referring to a makeshift hospital on the site, whose storage capacities and changing areas could be used by the staff. A capacity of up to 7000 vaccinations per day is targeted.
Not so in Erfurt. “At the moment we are not intended or have been approached as a vaccination center,” says the trade fair company.
Corona and Fortuna on the Rhine
And the decision against the fair was also made in Düsseldorf. In the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, the corona vaccination center is instead being built in the Merkur-Spiel-Arena, i.e. in the football stadium of the second division Fortuna Düsseldorf, which is right next to the exhibition center on the Rhine.
The game and training operations are still secured – in perspective, with spectators, according to the city administration. “Neither the lawn nor the team rooms are used for the vaccination center.” The city justifies its choice with the transport links, but also with issues such as logistics and accessibility.
And with a bit of symbolism, there is still a lot to do with: “The vaccination center in the arena will hopefully also help us to be there as fans at a later date, on site and together, at sporting events,” says City Director Burkhard Hintzsche who is also the head of sports in Düsseldorf. According to the city, up to 2,400 vaccinations per day are possible at the station location.