A huge shipment of Moderna doses that was delayed last week finally arrived in San Diego County on Tuesday. The delay forced the super station at Petco Park to shut down for several days, but it’s expected to resume vaccinations Wednesday morning.
Now, though, the question is: For how long?
When they set up the site, city and county officials agreed to leave Tailgate Park by April 1, since the Padres’ season would be around the corner.
Just last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom toured the Petco Park vaccine super station, calling it an inspiration to other communities across the state. Now, thought, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria tells NBC 7 that the super station model may soon be a thing of the past.
More than 100,000 people have received their shots there, but, like the vaccine itself, this site has a shelf life. While it has proven effective for many people seeking vaccinations, it has also come with long lines and wait times.
“It’s probably more likely that we’re going to look for smaller locations that can better handle the volume of interest as well as the ability to treat people with respect they need,” Gloria said.
A date to leave the site hasn’t been set yet, but with the Padres home opener scheduled for April 1, fans will need to park in the lot if they’re permitted to attend games
Scheduled vaccination appointments will be honored, the mayor said.
“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve had to improvise, adapt and adjust, and this is going to be no different,” Gloria said.
What people like about the Petco Park location is that it is central to public transportation and San Diego’s population. Also, the Padres are used to large events and handling big crowds and traffic
Should the county want another city site for a superstation, something similar might be set up at Balboa Park or Sea World, the mayor said.
“If it is a city site, we will make it available,” Gloria said. “You are hearing that directly from the mayor. My team understands there is no higher priority in city hall right now than getting as many San Diegans vaccinated as possible.”
While the city serves a supporting role, the mayor has his sights on such hard-hit areas as San Ysidro, Nestor and Otay Mesa. His vision is vaccination stations in high schools and libraries, with mobile units staffed by qualified firefighters.
“What we should do is remove every barrier that is in the way of a San Diegan who wants to get vaccinated,” Gloria said. “This is the most efficient way I know of to reopen our economy, get our schools back open and, most importantly, to save lives.”
The mayor hopes to balance the benefits of a superstation with the bedside manner of a regular doctor visit.
The city is opening a vaccination station at the Malcolm X Library 5148 Market St. this Thursday.