Anti-Vaccine Protesters Briefly Shut Down Large COVID-19 Vaccination Site at Dodger Stadium

"We will not be deterred or threatened," Gov. Gavin Newsom said after the vaccination site was re-opened

COVID-19 vaccine site at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA
Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty

The mass coronavirus vaccination site at Dodger Stadium was briefly shut down on Saturday due to a group of anti-vaccine protestors.

For nearly an hour, the vaccination site — one of the largest in the country — was shut down as a group of around 50 protestors blocked the entrance, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz told the Washington Post.

Many of the protestors — who were not seen wearing masks — carried signs presenting misinformation about the virus, with one protestor wearing a Grim Reaper costume, the outlet reported.

Despite the brief interruption in service, Ortiz said that the delay did not impact the number of people who were able to receive vaccinations that day.

"We remain committed to vaccinating Angelenos as quickly and safely as possible," Andrea Garcia, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, told The Los Angeles Times, noting that no appointments were canceled as a result of the protest.

No arrests were made, an LAPD spokeswoman told the newspaper.

"It's just disappointing," singer Adam Michaelson, who traveled to the site with his elderly mother, told the Washington Post. "I realize there are people who have been anti-vaxxers for a while but to take this extra step of trying to prevent other people from getting it just to me seems like a whole new level of evil."

Shop Mask Free Los Angeles rally against COVID-19 Vaccine
Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty
A protest organized by Shop Mask Free Los Angeles rally against COVID vaccine, masks and lockdowns at the vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021 in Los Angeles
Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty

Local officials also addressed the brief closure, reiterating the city's commitment to vaccine distribution.

"CA is working around the clock to provide life-saving vaccines to those on the frontlines of this pandemic," Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote on Twitter after the vaccination site was "back up and running."

"We will not be deterred or threatened," he added.

Added Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez: "If you don't want the vaccine fine, but there are millions of Angelenos that do. 16,000 of your neighbors have died, so get out of the way."

Before being released to the public, vaccine-makers went through large, lengthy clinical trials to ensure that their product is completely safe. On Sept. 8, nine of the leading vaccine makers — including Pfizer and Moderna — signed a pledge vowing to follow "high ethical standards" and not rush a vaccine into production before it is proven to work.

As of Monday morning, there have been over 3.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in California and at least 40,928 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

Over the weekend, local health officials also confirmed the state's second case of the potentially more contagious strain of COVID-19, which was first identified in the U.K.

"We are still in a very dangerous period in terms of cases, hospitalizations and deaths," Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Each of us needs to make very careful choices about what we do and how we do it. This virus is strong, and we are now concerned about variants and what these will mean in our region."

RELATED VIDEO: CNN Reporter Breaks Down in Tears Over COVID Deaths on Live TV

Health officials are urging residents to "more diligently implement and follow" safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which include "wearing a face covering properly over your nose and mouth, physically distancing, and not gathering with people from outside your household."

"These strategies will only be effective in slowing the spread of any variant strain of COVID-19 if they are used by everyone all of the time," officials warned.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Related Articles