A COVID-19 vaccination centre at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium was forced to temporarily close on Saturday as protestors gathered at the entrance.
The Los Angeles Times reports that around 50 protestors forced the closure at the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which houses one of the biggest vaccine centres in the US.
The protestors are said to have included members of anti-vaccine and far-right groups, with shouts of “lab rat” directed at individuals that were queuing to be vaccinated. The protests led to the site being shut for around an hour, with the Los Angeles Fire Department called to the scene to close the stadium entrance at 2pm local time.
German Jaquez, who had been waiting in line for the vaccine for an hour, told the LA Times that protestors were claiming COVID-19 “was not real” and that the vaccine was dangerous. The protest was referred to as the “Scamdemic Protest/March” in a post on social media.
“This is the wrong message,” Jaquez said. “I’ve been waiting for weeks to get an appointment. I am a dentist; I am taking a big risk being around patients. I want to be safe for my patients and for my family. The vaccine is the only way to beat the virus.”
The state of California has recorded more than 40,000 deaths from COVID-19. Dodger Stadium’s vaccine site is open from 8am to 8pm every day except Sunday.
Dodger Stadium is one of a number of US sports venues that has been converted into a vaccine centre in recent weeks, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Bank of America Stadium, home to the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers NFL teams, respectively.
Numerous vaccine centres have also been set up in the UK and a new site opened last week at the University of Bolton Stadium, home of League Two football club Bolton Wanderers. Vaccinations are being carried out by Hootons Pharmacy, which is part of the Whittle Pharmacies group.
The site will initially be vaccinating people aged 75 and over, and those who have received a letter inviting them to book an appointment.
Dr Helen Wall, director of commissioning at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Everyone in Bolton in the priority groups will continue to be invited to a local GP-led centre, unless they prefer to attend the Wanderers site or a regional vaccination centre, which they can book once they have received their letter. This will be the first site in Bolton to be managed by a pharmacy and Hootons have worked really hard with the football club to make this work.”
Image: Discover Los Angeles