Motorist waiting in line for COVID-19 vaccine crashes at Soka University, 3 hospitalized

A worker checks appointment times at Soka University in Aliso Viejo Jan. 23, 2021.
A worker checks appointment times at Soka University in Aliso Viejo Jan. 23, 2021. A motorist on Sunday crashed while waiting in a vaccine drive-through line.
(File Photo)

Drive-through traffic at the county’s Soka University vaccine super site came to a temporary halt this weekend, after a motorist’s vehicle suddenly accelerated, hitting a tent and several portable restrooms in an incident that caused three people to be hospitalized.

Orange County Health Care Agency spokeswoman Jessica Good confirmed Monday the accident took place at the Aliso Viejo point-of-dispensing (POD) site at around 10 a.m. Sunday.

“A vehicle suddenly accelerated forward, causing the vehicle to collide with several portable restrooms and a large tent which fell onto three other vehicles,” Good wrote in an email. “Three people, including the driver of the vehicle, were taken to the hospital for evaluation for minor injuries.”

People at the scene were moved inside to avoid delays in the vaccination process, Good continued, and all drive-through operations had been resumed by Monday.

Exactly what caused the car to accelerate is still being investigated, but people who have visited the site attested on social media signs posted at the facility advise motorists to turn their vehicles off while they are waiting in line.

Sunday’s incident follows on the heels of an April 23 announcement that a second county-run vaccine distribution POD at Disneyland would deliver its last doses this Thursday, as the theme park prepares to reopen to California residents beginning Friday.

In the month leading up to the closure, the Anaheim facility was reconfigured to offer only second-round COVID-19 vaccinations. OCHA Director and county health officer Dr. Clayton Chau estimated the site, which opened to the public Jan. 13, will have delivered 233,000 doses of the vaccine by the time it closes.

“Our sincerest thanks to the Disneyland Resort for being the first organization to offer their time, talents and property to launch and sustain our first Super POD,” Chau said in the April 23 release, reminding residents of the many vaccination options that still exist.

“We’re not going away,” he added. “We’re just balancing the changing needs of eligible patients with our staffing and vaccine allocations to ensure we can be as responsive as possible.”

As of April 18, health officials reported 2,289,789 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been distributed throughout Orange County. A total of 896,221 individuals had been completely vaccinated, whether on the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech regimens or with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Nearly 42,000 doses were delivered on April 16 alone, the second highest number distributed since vaccines began rolling out to the public earlier this year, according to an online tracking portal maintained by the agency.

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