‘Get your shot here’: At Dodger Stadium, the lines are for vaccine, not beer.


A civil rights activist once called Los Angeles an “imperfect paradise.”

It was an apt phrase to sum up the scene at Dodger Stadium the other day: a flawed, hopeful work in progress, ringed by hills topped with palm trees in 72-degree sunshine in late January, that was putting more shots of coronavirus vaccine into people’s arms in a few hours than almost all other sites do in an entire day.

A sea of cars waiting for hours in the stadium parking lot waited some more. All the runners — the workers who dashed between the lanes of idling vehicles to fill empty coolers with the vaccine — were busy running.

“You need more vaccine?” a trim 49-year-old man in a mask asked a nurse. “I’ll get it.”

His name was Eric Garcetti, and his day job is being mayor of Los Angeles, but he has been working the stadium’s front lines off and on since the vaccination site opened on Jan. 15. It helps him better understand and fix the logistical problems, he says.

In the past few weeks, the mayor and other local and state officials have come under intense scrutiny for their handling of the virus and the vaccination rollout. Mixed messages led to widespread confusion.

But for all the mishaps, Los Angeles has a higher vaccination rate than other large cities and counties — 83 percent of the doses the city has received have been administered, compared with 74 percent in New York City; 52 percent in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio; and 58 percent of the doses ordered in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.

A day at the Dodger Stadium site showed the enormous challenge ahead, and the dizzying logistics of giving out perishable doses by the thousands in a sprawling space never intended to help cope with a public health crisis.

“Something that wasn’t here suddenly is — and the decision to build this was made less than two weeks ago,” Mr. Garcetti said. “We’re driving the car at 60 miles an hour while we’re building it.”


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