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Delayed COVID-19 Vaccine Shipment Causes Shortage, Appointment Rescheduling

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine sits next to a syringe in a doctor's office at the Vista Community Clinic, Jan. 8, 2021.
Jacob Aere
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine sits next to a syringe in a doctor's office at the Vista Community Clinic, Jan. 8, 2021.

The delayed arrival of an expected shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines created a shortage in the county Friday, forcing some vaccination sites to dramatically slow the pace of inoculations or reschedule appointments altogether.

The shipment is now expected to arrive Tuesday. County officials did not immediately return a call as to how many doses are expected in the shipment.

The interruption will affect the region's largest vaccination site, the UC San Diego Health Petco Park Super Station, with no vaccinations taking place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Petco appointments will be automatically rescheduled through UCSD MyChart.

The Chula Vista and La Mesa super stations have supplies sufficient to get through Monday. The county's distribution sites and super station in San Marcos have sufficient supplies to meet second-dose appointments, along with a limited supply of first doses, county officials said.

It was unclear how long the super station opened Friday morning at the Del Mar Fairgrounds will be able to maintain its appointments. The Scripps Del Mar Fairgrounds Vaccination Super Station, located at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., will provide drive-through and walk-through services on an appointment-only basis to anyone eligible to receive a shot under county guidelines.

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Previous plans called for the station to open initially from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday. Longer hours and more days of operation will be added as more vaccine doses become available.

For those who may experience a delay in second doses, the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has advised that people can wait up to 42 days between doses and still achieve maximum immunity.

The shortage of vaccines is San Diego mirrors an issue seen this week in Los Angeles County, where large-scale vaccine sites were limited to second-dose appointments only, and in the city of Los Angeles, which was forced to close its five vaccinations sites due to lack of supply, including the site at Dodger Stadium, considered one of the largest in the country.

San Diego County coronavirus inoculation sites have received 703,200 doses of vaccine and administered 550,707 doses as of Thursday evening, according to the county's Health and Human Services Agency.

A total of 15.5% of San Diegans age 16 and over have received at least one of the two shots required to develop antibody protection against the virus. Around 3.3% of the population over the age of 16 is fully vaccinated.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at vaccinationsuperstationsd.com.