Dodger Stadium transforms into COVID-19 vaccination site
LOS ANGELES - Dodger Stadium reopened Friday as a COVID-19 mass-vaccination center, with Mayor Eric Garcetti saying it will have the capacity to vaccinate 12,000 people a day when it is running fully.
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Sunday that testing operations at Dodger Stadium would conclude Monday, and in conjunction with the county, vaccine distribution will begin by the end of the week.
A statement from the mayor's office said local leaders decided to shift testing away from testing at Dodger Stadium and the Veterans Affairs Lot 15 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Brentwood so that public health officials could immediately focus personnel, equipment and other resources on vaccination distribution.
"From early on in this pandemic, Dodger Stadium has been home base for our testing infrastructure, a vital part of our effort to track the spread of COVID-19, try to get ahead of outbreaks, and save lives," Garcetti said.
"Vaccines are the surest route to defeating this virus and charting a course to recovery, so the city, county and our entire team are putting our best resources on the field to get Angelenos vaccinated as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible."
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis applauded the decision.
"I want to thank Mayor Eric Garcetti, the entire city of Los Angeles and the Dodgers organization for their partnership in getting us to this point," Solis said.
"For eight months, Dodger Stadium served as a lifeline for so many Angelenos -- providing free access to testing. In this moment of darkness where cases, hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing, this bold step of offering both COVID-19 testing and vaccines in the heart of Los Angeles, reflects the dual nature of this moment -- it is dark, but simultaneously hopeful," she said. "Robust COVID-19 testing is the linchpin to getting out of this current and unprecedented surge and the vaccine is fulcrum to ending the pandemic once and for all."
RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information
The Dodger Stadium site will be able to vaccinate up to 12,000 people per day when it is fully up and running. This shift in resources will "temporarily reduce testing capacity in L.A. County, but it will more than triple the number of daily vaccines available to be dispersed to Angelenos," according to the mayor's statement. The city remains committed to providing free testing to residents, with or without symptoms, at eight permanent sites and six mobile sites across L.A.
"In the weeks ahead, the number of tests offered will increase through existing locations, additional mobile teams and an expanded site at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Anyone seeking a test can find more information at coronavirus.lacity.org/testing or may contact their health care provider."
"We need to get vaccines out. I think all of us know the longer this goes, the worse this is for our economy, the more deaths we will have and I was frustrated to see vaccines in this country not roll out more quickly, and we want to make sure that California and Los Angeles leads," Garcetti told FOX 11 anchor Michaela Periera during a Good Day LA interview Monday. "So together with the county and the state, we want to transform what was the largest testing site in the state, to the largest vaccine site in the state, if not in this country."
More than one million Angelenos have been tested for COVID-19 at Dodger Stadium since it opened in May 2020, and no existing testing appointments are affected by this week's operational changes. Vaccinations at the site will be distributed in accordance with CDC, state and county guidance to eligible populations.
On Monday afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom discussed the state's large-scale vaccination sites.
Click here for more information about vaccine eligibility.
Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.