LOS ANGELES — A handful of protesters demonstrated outside the vaccine distribution site at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, but authorities reported no major issues.
The protest started around noon and drew 20 to 30 people, said Los Angeles Police Department Officer Sean Murray. No arrests had been reported by 2 p.m., nor were vaccination efforts interrupted, he said.
Last month, a demonstration by anti-vaccination and far-right protesters prompted Los Angeles Fire officials to briefly close the main entrance to the stadium as a precaution as maskless protesters roamed through the long queues of cars, intimidating people and stalling their entry.
In the wake of the incident, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said future disruptions would be met with quick arrests. Protesters would be confined to an area near the stadium’s entrance in an effort to balance people’s First Amendment rights with the need to keep the site operating, he said.
The latest demonstration came as Los Angeles County public health officials continued to see infections drop, on Saturday reporting 1,730 new cases of the coronavirus and 94 deaths. There were 1,661 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals as of Friday, a drop of nearly 50% from two weeks before.
Los Angeles, CA - January 30: Siaka Massaquoi, right, listed on IMDb as an actor, was one of the protesters who protested the vaccine clinic at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Still, some experts have expressed fears of a potential “fourth wave” of new cases, particularly as the vaccination campaign has been slow to get underway, while several more transmissible variants of the virus are on the rise throughout the nation.
In California, they include the U.K. variant, which spreads more readily than its predecessors and may also be more deadly, as well as a homegrown variant that might also have the ability to evade antibodies generated by vaccines or prior infection.
Public health authorities are urging people to keep adhering to coronavirus rules for a little longer.
“We have been in this position before, on the downside of a surge in cases,” Barbara Ferrer, the county health director, said in a statement. “We must not have a false confidence and must stay committed to the very safety measures that are helping to decrease our cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”
They include wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing and staying away from those in different households, she said.©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.