LOS ANGELES — Anti-vaccine protesters briefly forced officials to close the Covid-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Saturday as hundreds of people waited in their cars to receive doses, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said.
The fire department closed the stadium entrance for about an hour in the afternoon while protesters attempted to enter the parking lot, where vaccinations were being administered.
No one was arrested, but the Los Angeles Police Department deployed “a sufficient amount of officers” to the stadium, a spokesperson said. L.A. police also said that all vaccines would be administered despite the delay.
California “is working around the clock to provide life-saving vaccines to those on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We will not be deterred or threatened.”
Several of the demonstrators were seen not wearing masks and carrying signs suggesting the coronavirus pandemic is a “scam,” according to social media posts.
We’re at the mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium to get my mom the vaccine. The anti–vax protestors have approached the entrance to the site. The LAPD have now closed the gate. We have been sitting here for about half an hour. Nobody is moving. pic.twitter.com/GrJPA5wrqx
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) January 30, 2021
In another series of videos posted to Twitter, protesters appeared to discourage people waiting in line from getting the vaccine.
The anti-vaccine protest coincided with Los Angeles County public health officials detecting a second case of the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which was first found in the United Kingdom. The new strain is thought to be more contagious than the original coronavirus, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to estimate that it will become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.
More than 1.1 million Covid-19 cases and 16,647 deaths have been confirmed across Los Angeles County as of Saturday, according to the public health department.
Despite high rates of Covid-19 in L.A., anti-mask protests have sprung up throughout the region in recent weeks. Demonstrators have stormed shopping malls and grocery stores, urging residents to ditch their masks and demanding that California reopen the economy.