SF 49ers President Al Guido and the County of Santa Clara jointly announced Friday that Levi's Stadium will open this coming Tuesday as California’s largest COVID-19 vaccination site — and it's expected to inoculate more people daily than the immunization site at LA's Dodger Stadium.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout last year was demoralizing slow and all sorts of convoluted. But, at least as of late, things seem to be shoring up and streamlining as regional, state, and national vaccination plans continue to improve accessibility to both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. (It's still quasi unclear how Johnston & Johnson's more booster-like vaccine will play into those plans.) Starting next week, a milestone will transpire in the race to vaccinate the masses: Levi's Stadium in South Bay will open up as the largest vaccination site in the state, to date.
Starting on Tuesday, February 9, @LevisStadium will serve as a vaccination site for Santa Clara County residents.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) February 5, 2021
Make an appointment & plan your visit to get the COVID-19 vaccine 👇
According to KTVU and the Chronicle, the 49ers and Santa Clara County said the vaccination site at Levi's Stadium will open Tuesday with the initial capacity to vaccinate 5,000 people per day. The current plan is to eventually increase capacity up to 15,000 people a day as vaccine supplies increase.
"We recognize the urgent need for an effective and equitable vaccination effort for our community and are proud to partner with the County of Santa Clara to bring this vaccination site online as quickly and efficiently as possible," 49ers President Al Guido said in a statement, per KTVU. "We have brought every resource at our disposal to bear on this challenge to ensure members of the community we live in each and every day can be vaccinated safely and quickly."
The site will be staffed and operated by the County of Santa Clara Health System; these first rounds of vaccinations will be given to Santa Clara County residents — who live in what's still the Bay Area's epicenter of the pandemic.
As it stands now, Santa Clara County Public Health Department gets a weekly allocation of vaccines from California, which distributed to local healthcare providers, community clinics, and Stanford Healthcare; each medical provider, clinic, and hospital that receives the doses is then required to follow the county's vaccine distribution guidelines when choosing how to administer its allocation.
More specifically: vaccine doses for the Levi’s Stadium mass vaccination site will come from the County Health System’s batch, with its ability to vaccinate people "dependent on how much vaccine the state allocates to our community," according to the county.
As SFGate noted, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles is also presently serving as a mass vaccination site — with a capacity to vaccinate some 12,000 people per day, once supply increases. When it opened in January, Mayor Eric Garcetti said it would "be one of the biggest in the country, if not the biggest in the country."
Well, half that statement still rings true.
"The 49ers are always willing to show up for our community in good times and in trying times," Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said in a news release about the soon-to-be-opened mass vaccination site. "They fully understand the needs of Santa Clara County and the importance of the efficient, fast, and equitable distribution of the vaccine to our residents."
Levi's Stadium pivot to becoming a place for denizens of Santa Clara comes during a time when Bay Area vaccination sites — like San Francisco's new one at Moscone center that opened Friday — are rolling out to both test and vaccinate denizens of the region.
And as research is blessedly showing: the current roaster of vaccines (and even the previously mentioned Johnson & Johnson's booster-like shot) remain efficacious amid emerging COVID-19 variants, but will still need to be tweaked at some point in the future.
Image: The Arizona Cardinals bench remained empty as they stayed in the locker room for the playing of the National Anthem before their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)