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California's Disneyland to become Covid vaccination site

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California's Disneyland theme park is set to become a massive Covid-19 vaccination site this week, county officials announced on Monday.

The "happiest place on earth" is one of several large distribution sites opening up in the state as cases soar and hospitals near capacity.

The most populous US state has lagged behind in its vaccination rate, doling out around a third of its doses so far.

The state reported just under 40,000 new cases on Monday and 264 deaths.

California ranks 42nd out of 50 states in its vaccination rate per 100,000 residents, according to Centers for Disease Control data.

The Disneyland resort in Orange County will become the region's first "super" distribution site, Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said on Monday. It will have the capacity to vaccinate thousands of people daily.

The park has been closed to visitors since mid-March - unlike its sister resort, Walt Disney World in Florida, which has been open to reduced numbers of guests since July.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced similar vaccination sites would be opening up as early as this week at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, Cal Expo in Sacramento and Petco Park in San Diego.

"We recognise that the current strategy is not going to get us to where we need to go as quickly as we all need to go," Mr Newsom said.

"That's why we're speeding up the administration not just for priority groups but opening up large sites to do so."

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The state's current vaccination campaign is focusing on high priority individuals, like health care workers and long-term care facility residents.

The Golden State has the third highest death rate in the country.

More than 22,600 people have been admitted to hospital due to the virus, and state data shows that as of Monday, just over 1,200 intensive care beds were still available statewide.

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"The damaging impact to our families and our local hospitals from this surge is the worst disaster our county has experienced for decades," Los Angeles County's top public health official, Barbara Ferrer told reporters on Monday.

What's the situation in the rest of the US?

The US has seen 22.6m Covid-19 cases and more than 376,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  • In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, there are fears of an impending Covid spike in the wake of huge celebrations after a college American football championship victory, despite pleas from the mayor to call off parties.
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  • Florida's Governor Ron de Santis on Tuesday announced over 50% of all vaccinations administered so far have gone to senior citizens
  • Three Democrats in the House of Representatives have reported positive tests after having to shelter with Republican colleagues who did not wear masks during the riot last week
  • On Tuesday, US health secretary Alex Azar, appearing on the Good Morning America programme, said changes are coming to make the second vaccine doses available and expand both access and eligibility
  • The CDC reports over 25m doses of both approved vaccines have been distributed nationwide, and 9m administered
media captionWhy are US officials getting vaccinated in public?

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