ANAHEIM | A “mega center” of vaccination opened its doors Wednesday in a parking lot of the famous Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, closed for ten months by the California authorities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Several hundred people, medical workers and residents of Orange County aged 65 and over had already turned up in the afternoon to receive a first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine in large white tents, noted an AFP journalist.
“Today, for many people who have just been vaccinated, this is truly the happiest place in the world,” Orange County official Lisa Bartlett told reporters, echoing the official slogan. of Disneyland.
Orange County announced Monday evening the choice of Disneyland parking for its “mega center” for vaccine administration, and had already received more than 10,000 registrations the next day.
“Easy, it was a piece of cake. I didn’t even feel anything, ”says Gary Dohman, 81 years old and suffering from lung cancer, after receiving a first injection of the vaccine developed by Moderna.
Given his age and illness, staff kept him under observation for thirty minutes instead of the statutory fifteen, but he did not develop “any bizarre reaction,” he explains, a small tank of oxygen in shoulder strap.
The octogenarian was impatiently awaiting this vaccine. “I was a recluse at home for ten months, unable to go anywhere. I want to have my second injection and travel a bit ”or go to a restaurant, he says cheerfully.
The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in California has been the target of criticism, the most populous US state, so far with one of the lowest rates in the country.
Some 10 million people, or about 10% of the total United States population, had received a first injection of one of two COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the country on Wednesday, U.S. health officials said.
In California, in order to boost the pace of vaccinations, authorities announced Wednesday lowering the age required to benefit from the vaccine at this stage, now offering it to all people aged 65 and over.
Orange County had already taken this decision at its level as part of an operation called “Independence”, which aims to vaccinate its population of more than 3 million people by July 4, American national holiday .
The Disneyland site is expected to administer 7,000 doses of vaccine daily when it ramps up. County officials hope it will help reopen the local economy, including tourism, which has been hit hard by the pandemic that has caused amusement parks to close.
California, particularly the south, has become one of the main hotbeds of the coronavirus in recent months. The number of cases since early December has more than doubled to 2.75 million, and the 30,000 dead mark was crossed on Tuesday.