Protesters briefly disrupted a coronavirus vaccine distribution center at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, calling the jabs an elite plot to control the population.
Dozens of people carrying placards calling for an end to lockdowns and promoting anti-vaccination conspiracy theories gathered at the entrance to the vaccination site, one of the largest in the United States, on Saturday, posts on social networks.
Officials shut down the site for nearly an hour, US media reported, citing fire officials – although the Los Angeles Police Department later insisted it was not closed and that all vaccines would be distributed.
The incident represents the latest challenge for the vaccine deployment in the United States, which has the world’s highest number of cases and deaths from COVID-19.
The Los Angeles Daily News spoke to protester Jairo Rodriguez, 26, who said most of the protesters were supporters of former President Donald Trump who had deliberately chosen not to wear pro-Trump clothing or to carry American flags in order to “better communicate their anti-vaxxing.” message. ”He also said they were not wearing masks.
On social media, protesters were shown holding signs reading “Covid = scam”, “99.96 survival rate” and “Tell Bill Gates to get vaccinated”. The latter in reference to a conspiracy theory according to which vaccines were used to implant microchips into the population in order to control them by a New World Order.
Others chanted “This is not a vaccine”, “The sheep led to their slaughter” and “This is a cure. You submit to be a real-time lab rat ”.
A social media post described the protest as the “SCAMDEMIC / WALK PROTEST”. He advised attendees to “please refrain from wearing the Trump / MAGA outfit as we want our statement to resonate with the sheep. No flags but only informative signs ”.
Health officials plan to vaccinate 12,000 people a day at the stadium, considered the country’s largest vaccination site.
Ire and contempt
Videos and photos of the protests have been shared widely on social media, sparking anger and outrage from some who have highlighted the growing number of coronavirus deaths in the country.
More than 26 million people have been infected and 439,000 have died in the country since the start of the pandemic, a count kept by Johns Hopkins University showed on Saturday.
President Joe Biden has pledged to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days – but the rollout started slowly under Trump.
Los Angeles County, where COVID-19 cases have increased this winter, currently only vaccinates frontline medical workers and people 65 and older.
Even among these groups, appointments are extremely difficult to secure, with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna plans in limited numbers.