The American Museum of Natural History in New York has become a COVID-19 vaccination site, and those who get their jabs there can do so in the presence of the famous blue whale sculpture.

The center will open on the ground floor of the museum to administer vaccinations between Friday and Tuesday every week, starting on April 23. To mark the importance of the occasion, the whale is now sporting a bandage of her own to signify that she has been "vaccinated." Everyone who receives their needles at the museum will receive a voucher for complimentary general admission for up to four people, redeemable online for a future visit.

The Blue Whale at the American Museum of Natural History with a plaster on it
The whale is sporting a bandage to signify her "vaccination" © AMNH, photo by D. Finnin

The whale is suspended from the ceiling and was first constructed in the mid-1960s, based on photographs of a female blue whale found dead in 1925 off the southern tip of South America. Museum artists worked on the renovation of the 94-foot-long model in 2001, which is comprised of 21,000 pounds of foam and fiberglass. As they had more images and live footage of blue whales to use as reference, they flattened the original model's once overly-bulging eyes, corrected the blowholes and tapered the tail. They also added a belly button as a reminder of one of the traits that humans share with the mammal.

The American Museum of Natural History is an appropriate venue for administering vaccinations as it is dedicated to fostering scientific knowledge and understanding and providing access to the public. It will serve all eligible New York City residents, and those who wish to choose it as a center can register on NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Finder's website here.

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