Stadiums, amusement parks transform into COVID-19 vaccination mega sites

Coronavirus

A person walks into an entrance to Disneyland in Anaheim on Sept. 30, 2020, after Disney said it was laying off 28,000 workers amid the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on theme parks. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — There are new mega sites popping up across the country for people to get their COVID-19 vaccination.

From Disneyland to Yankee Stadium, health officials are preparing to switch major attractions into mega vaccination sites. 

On Wednesday,  state officials in California announced they are expanding vaccination eligibility for all residents 65 and older. California health officials are using these mega sites to provide vaccinations.

Other major states in the U.S. are doing the same. These popular attractions are now morphing into vaccination sites:

  • Disneyland in Anaheim, California
  • Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas
  • Fairgrounds in Dallas, Texas
  • Yankee Stadium in New York, New York

In Portland, Oregon, the first drive-thru vaccination site opened this week. For many people getting the shot, safety and social distancing is still top of mind.

“We didn’t have to get out, didn’t have to worry about being around other people. Staying in our own car where we are comfortable it’s been ideal,” said Leslie Fox.  

Fox is a home health care worker. She is among the first 60 healthcare workers and first responders who signed up for the service in Portland. 

“I care for my sister and if she’s exposed she can get really sick so I don’t go anywhere. I don’t do anything. I pick up my groceries — I order them online and pick them up.  So, having this and being able go back to some sense of normalcy is fantastic,“ said Fox. 

In San Diego, the city is prepared to open a mega site that operates 7 days a week and vaccinates about 5,000 health care workers a day.

Near Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the typically long lines that wrap around parking lots for testing are gone. Health officials are preparing to change the site into a vaccination location instead.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the state has received more than 2 million doses of the vaccine.  But as of Monday, less  than a third have been administered.

But at mega sites, California health officials plan to vaccinate as many as 12,000 people a day. Health officials say it will be weeks before they can reach that goal. 

“Switching from a testing mode to a vaccination mode is an enormous undertaking. We are evaluating the ability to train EMTs to be trained to administer a vaccine as a part of their standard scope of practice under the state and county regulations,” said L.A. EMS Bureau Medical Director Dr. Marc Eckstein. 

Officials say next week, the state will launch a new system to let people know if they are eligible to receive a vaccine or sign up to get a notification to let them know when they will become eligible.

The California Department of Public Health says the system will also help residents schedule appointments at mass vaccination sites statewide. 


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