ANAHEIM, Calif. — California plans to turn Disneyland, sports stadiums and other large sites around the state into COVID-19 vaccination centers to help speed up distribution.
Orange County officials announced Monday that the region’s first point-of-dispensing (POD) site will be established at the Disney resort in Anaheim. It’s expected to be operational later this week.
“The Disneyland Resort, the largest employer in the heart of Orange County, has stepped up to host the county’s first Super POD site – undertaking a monumental task in our vaccination distribution process,” said the county’s acting Chairman Andrew Do.
Officials say the resort will be one of several “super POD” sites in the area that will have the capacity to vaccinate thousands of residents each day.
In addition to Disneyland, sports stadiums around the state are also be transformed to meet the tremendous need to vaccinate. During a press conference Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Dodger Stadium, Padres Stadium and CalEXPO are set to be turned into large-scale vaccination sites as soon as this week.
“We recognize that the current strategy is not going to get us where we need to go as quickly as we all need to go and so that’s why we’re speeding up the administration, not just for priority groups, but also now opening up large sites to do so, meaning Dodger Stadium, Padres Stadium, CalEXPO,” said Newsom. “These large, mass vaccination sites, you’ll start to see these coming up as early as this week.”
Like many states, California has set up a tiered system for vaccinations that prioritizes front line workers and the elderly, including health care workers and those in assisted living facilities. Next up in the state will be those 75 and older and workers in education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture.
As of Monday, Newsom said a total of 2,466,125 doses of the vaccine had been shipped to California, with 783,476 doses administered by Sunday. The state has set a goal of 1 million more vaccinations by this weekend.
California is in dire need to speed up its vaccination efforts as coronavirus cases and deaths have been spiking across the state over the past several weeks. In Los Angeles County, officials said last Thursday that a person was dying of COVID-19 every eight minutes. CBS News reports the state recorded 10,000 coronavirus deaths in just one month.
The state’s hospitals are being overwhelmed. Newsom broke down ICU capacities by region Monday, saying Southern California was at 0% capacity, the San Joaquin Valley was at 0%, the Bay Area was at .7%, Greater Sacramento was at 9.7%, and Northern California was at 35%.