Nation’s ‘largest vaccination site’ in LA briefly shut down amid protest against Covid-19 immunization campaign (VIDEOS)
Access to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, called the nation’s largest mass vaccination site, was halted for an hour after a small group of protesters showed up to decry the immunization drive.
The entrance to the stadium, which has been serving as a mass vaccination site since mid-January, was sealed at around 2pm local time after a sparse crowd of protesters staged a rally near the gate.
Footage on social media shows several dozen protesters with signs reading “Covid is a Scam,” “End the Lockdown,” “99 percent survival rate,” and “No Vaccine.”
a Picture from todays anti-vax protest at Dodger Stadium..... sometimes the jokes write themselves..... pic.twitter.com/7kbXMHeCZF— Lou Z. (@lou_nautic) January 31, 2021
The Los Angeles Times reported that the decision to block people from driving inside the gate came from the Los Angeles Fire Department as a precaution.
The anti-vaxxers tried handing out flyers to people in line. pic.twitter.com/xCy02jZvps— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) January 30, 2021
The line stretched back further than I could see. pic.twitter.com/G8XZy0vxMS— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) January 30, 2021
The site was off limits to those waiting to be vaccinated for about an hour. It was not immediately clear why the stadium was temporarily closed. Author Mikel Jollett tweeted that “only about 30 protestors total” took part in the demonstration.
Footage posted by local reporter Emily Holshouser shows police securing the gate and preventing anyone from getting inside. In the video, a man asks an officer at the gate why they cannot let anybody in. The officer replies that he’s only following orders. “Right now it’s closed. You are not going to get through anybody right now. Just wait in your car, that’s the best you can do right now,” he said.
Someone waiting to get vaccinated speaks to an LAPD officer who says no one can get through, asks him to wait in his car. Says getting vaccinated is the right thing to do. pic.twitter.com/l387z0ALXp— Emily Holshouser (@emilyytayylor) January 30, 2021
Shortly before the gates were unblocked, a caravan of several police vehicles – apparently back-up – were seen arriving.
UPDATE: The police have arrived. pic.twitter.com/LM5taeC0B1— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) January 30, 2021
While some people on social media placed the blame on the police for hindering the vaccination campaign, the LAPD denied that it had anything to do with the closure.
“The LAPD did NOT close the gates, and per LA City Fire, all scheduled vaccines will be delivered,” the police said in a statement, adding that the protesters remained peaceful.
LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore said the officers were working with public safety partners to ensure everyone who is scheduled to receive a shot won’t leave without being administered one.
In the series of tweets that followed, Moore repeatedly said that the protest did not trigger the closure.
“The protest did NOT shut down the vaccination site. ALL appointments are being met,” he stated.
The protest did NOT shut down the vaccination site. ALL appointments are being met. https://t.co/b8wNwoscX8— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) January 31, 2021
Before being repurposed into a mass vaccination site, the stadium served as a mobile testing site. Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Garcetti estimated that up to 12,000 people per day can be vaccinated there.
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