Man arrested after allegedly attacking workers, harassing patients at California vaccination site

·2 min read

A man was arrested last week after allegedly harassing patients and attacking workers at a Covid vaccination clinic in Orange County, California, police and clinic representatives have said.

One of the workers sustained serious injuries and was transported to hospital in an ambulance after the Dec. 30 incident, according to the Families Together of Orange County Community Health Center.

“Both members of the team are expected to make a full recovery within a few days,” it adding in a statement released Tuesday.

In a statement sent to NBC News late Tuesday, Tustin Police Department said it had received a call from the clinic just before 10 a.m. (1 p.m. ET) that day.

"The caller told our dispatcher that staff members were attacked by a male subject and that staff and bystanders were trying to hold the subject down," the department said.

Seven officers responded to the call, with police taking Thomas Apollo, 43, of Poway, California, into custody.

Apollo was booked into the Orange County jail for battery and resisting arrest, the department said, adding that the case has been forwarded to the Orange County District Attorney's Office for review.

In a news release published on its website Tuesday night, the Families Together clinic, which offers medical, dental, vision and wellness services, said an individual had "harassed patients and attacked staff members" in the incident.

The clinic said it was “extremely saddened” by the altercation, which it said saw two of its staff members “working to help vaccinate patients” attacked.

Speaking with The Orange County Register, Families Together Mobile Operations Manager Parsia Jahanbani said the attacker in the incident had called clinic workers "murderers" and accused them of facilitating a conspiracy.

Jahanbani said the man had refused to wear a mask when he entered the clinic, saying: “I don’t need a mask, I don’t have the virus and you are the ones making people sick," before lunging at the mobile operations manager and another colleague.

NBC News has not been able to confirm this reporting. The Families Together clinic did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In its statement, the clinic said: "Despite the violent nature of the assault, Families Together kept offering vaccines and boosters to patients that day and the team was fully back at work the following week."

"While Families Together believes that vaccines are important in the fight against the pandemic, we understand that the decision to get vaccinated is purely personal," it continued. "However, we will not tolerate violence or harassment of any kind against our staff, patients or volunteers."

"We're proud of the strength and bravery of our team, and while this incident has shaken us, we will not be deterred from our mission to keep our community safe and healthy," it said.

The clinic said it is one of the top ten vaccine administrators in Orange County, having administered more than 50,000 jabs to date.