On Monday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors announced that the first large, “super Point-of-Dispensing” (POD) site for the COVID-19 vaccine will be set up in Disneyland.
Disneyland now joins other large-scale areas in different counties currently being utilized as temporary COVID-19 vaccine centers, including Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles County, Cal Expo in Sacramento County, and Petco Park in San Diego County.
While there are four other large POD sites opening up in Orange County soon according to the Supervisors, Disneyland will be the first. Once set up, the Disneyland site will be able to inoculate ‘thousands’ of people a day. The supervisors noted that the speed of vaccinations is critical as the state has fallen behind vaccine pacing, with only around 1/3rd of the number of vaccines having been administered statewide.
“Sites like these are absolutely critical in stopping the deadly virus,” noted Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee, whose district includes the theme park.
However, the temporary Disneyland vaccine site will not be accepting walk-in patients to receive the vaccine; only those with ID and proof that they are eligible to get the vaccine will be admitted.
Rather than be assigned this task, officials at Disney and Disneyland offered to host the vaccine site, becoming the largest such entity to offer their services to not only the county, but the state.
“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 acting Supervisor chairman Andrew Do in a statement.
Disneyland agrees to site despite being forced by law to remain closed for park guests
Disneyland’s willingness to host such a large vaccination site has come as a surprise to many, as the state has notoriously refused to let Disneyland reopen to guests since the spring of last year. All attempts to reopen have been thwarted by officials such as Governor Gavin Newsom, who have cited public health concerns against reopening the park anytime soon.
Many have not failed to notice the irony.
“The only reason they can host this place right now is because they are not allowed to have guests inside,” a laid-off Disneyland cast member “of some authority” told the Globe. “And it really boggles the mind. California and Newsom have kept saying that Disneyland needs to stay closed, not caring one bit about the thousands upon thousands of workers being let go in the process. But when they need help bringing out vaccines, they said yes without hesitation.”
“They had every right to say no to the County and the state, but they agreed to this anyway. You usually don’t think of corporations as caring, but in this instance, Disney proved to have more of a heart than the state. I was doing a check-in with other laid-off cast members last night, and the takeaway was that Disney seems to care more about Californians than the Governor does, which is something most people never would have thought to hear.”
While the Governor had little to do with the Disneyland vaccine site selection, he has said that large-scale vaccine sites in places like Dodger Stadium and Cal Expo would be critical going forward.
“We recognize that the current strategy is not going to get us to where we need to go as quickly as we all need to go,” said the Governor earlier on Monday. “That’s why we’re speeding up the administration not just for priority groups but opening up large sites to do so.”
The Disneyland site is expected to start vaccinating Orange County residents who meet the current vaccination parameters soon.