SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, is set to be used as a vaccination centre through a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
The Rams, Hollywood Park and the City of Inglewood will work with LAUSD to operate a large-scale vaccination centre on the grounds of the state-of-the-art 70,000-seat stadium, which opened last year.
The site would be able to serve any public and private school teachers, administrators and staff in Los Angeles County from schools that wish to participate. LAUSD sent a letter to county health and education ministers earlier this week seeking authorisation to operate the site, and the body will work closely with Los Angeles County on the programme.
The programme would see 600 LAUSD school nurses and other licensed healthcare professionals administer the vaccine and assist those who may have an adverse reaction. Anthem Blue Cross, an LAUSD partner, would provide volunteer clinical personnel to supplement staff, while LA-based non-profit hospital Cedars-Sinai is already providing training to support the vaccination effort.
It is hoped the Hollywood Park site will be able to vaccinate more than 10,000 people a day once fully operational. The operation would use a technology and data system to register individuals, schedule appointments and share data with the appropriate authorities.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said: “Returning students, teachers and staff to campus in the safest way possible is essential to the wellbeing of our entire community.
“A bus driver takes students to school, a principal unlocks the front door, a teacher leads in the classroom, a cafeteria worker prepares lunch and a custodian keeps the school clean – they’re all connected at school. A dedicated vaccination site and comprehensive effort for the education community would allow schools to reopen sooner and in a more coordinated manner.”
Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff added: “In speaking with Superintendent Beutner and Inglewood Mayor Butts about how we can best support our community during this time, it became clear that assisting schools to reopen safely would have wide-ranging impacts for all Angelenos.
“We are grateful to all our partners who have come together to develop a game plan that would allow us to operate this vaccination site at Hollywood Park safely and efficiently and serve educators all across the county.”
SoFi Stadium would join a number of NFL venues in opening up as a vaccination centre. Earlier this month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell offered the use of all 30 of the league’s stadiums in a letter to US President Joe Biden.
In other news, the Olympic Stadium in the Canadian city of Montreal is set to open as a vaccination site over the coming weeks.
The CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, a health and social services provider in the city, announced that the stadium’s atrium would be used in the vaccination effort.
Priority will be given to the elderly, people with a chronic health condition and essential workers before the wider population is offered the vaccination.
Sylvain Lemieux, president and chief executive of the CIUSSS-EMTL, said: “The massive mass vaccination campaign that will begin over the next few weeks is one of the biggest vaccination campaigns we will ever see. To achieve this, several hundred vaccinators will have to be recruited.”
The stadium served as the main venue for the 1976 summer Olympic Games in Montreal and has a capacity of around 56,000.
Meanwhile, plans are being made for the home stadium of Spanish LaLiga football club Granada to open as a vaccination centre.
The Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes was earmarked as a potential vaccination site earlier this week by Jésus Aguirre, the Minister of Health for Andalusia. It is hoped that around 500,000 people a week can be vaccinated in Andalusia in order to reach the goal of 70 per cent of the population being vaccinated by the summer.
Image: SoFi Stadium