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National City COVID-19 Vaccination Site Opens This Weekend

A woman gets a vaccination at the new National City site, Jan. 21, 2020.
Roland Lizarondo
A woman gets a vaccination at the new National City site, Jan. 21, 2020.

After soft-launching on Thursday, a new South Bay COVID-19 vaccination site at the Martin Luther King Jr Community Center opens at full-capacity on Sunday.

"This weekend we are very excited to be creating a partnership with National City," said San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas.

National City COVID-19 Vaccination Site Opens This Weekend
Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

This new "vaccination pod" will be open Sunday through Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and can accommodate 500 people per day. With a slow rollout of vaccines, officials are urging patients as people try to get appointments online.

Curious how the vaccine rollout is going in San Diego County? KPBS is tracking the progress.

"Yes, it’s going to take time you have to go through the online portal and you may not get in line, virtually, for a little while," said National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. "We also can’t supersede the state or county."

While some health providers are offering doses to people 65 and over, to get an appointment at a county vaccination site you have to be 75 or over, a healthcare worker or first responder.

County officials have said they only get a one day notice telling when vaccines will arrive to the region. Even with those questions the county is continuing to expand its vaccination program, sticking to it’s goal to have 70 percent of San Diegans over 16 vaccinated by the end of June.

"As we’re making decisions to allocate county resources, we’re really being guided through what’s being called an equity lens," said Vargas.

VIDEO: National City COVID-19 Vaccination Site Officially Opens This Weekend

National City officials also working on a program — similar to one Cal Fire San Diego has — where first responders are delivering vaccines.

"Eight of our firefighters have been certified to have a mobile unit," Sotelo-Solis said. "What that means is that our firefighters would be able to go to the long-term care facilities that may not have received the shots, as of yet, and vaccinate everyone in that space."

Cal Fire San Diego has been to more than 50 long-term care facilities to run vaccination clinics. As of Friday, a spokesperson said more then 2,000 staff and residents have been vaccinated, with 166 paramedics and nurses trained as vaccinators.

Seniors 75 and over without access to the internet can call 2-1-1 to book an appointment at a county-run site.