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San Diego State To Open COVID-19 Vaccine Site In Viejas Arena Tuesday

The setup inside San Diego State's Viejas Arena, the county's newest COVID-19 vaccination site, March 22, 2021.
Pool photo via NBC7
The setup inside San Diego State's Viejas Arena, the county's newest COVID-19 vaccination site, March 22, 2021.
Through a partnership between SDSU and the county, Viejas Arena will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appointment availability depends on vaccine supply.

Beginning Tuesday, anyone eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in San Diego County will be able to book an appointment at a new county-operated site opening at San Diego State University's Viejas Arena.

Through a partnership between SDSU and the county, Viejas Arena will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appointment availability depends on vaccine supply, which remains limited across the state and nation.

"SDSU and the County of San Diego have a long-standing and strong partnership working together to address pressing public health issues in our region," SDSU President Adela de la Torre said. "Our teams are both attentive to the need to expand vaccine access, and Viejas Arena is a convenient location for both our campus and the public."

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

The university, in partnership with the county's Health and Human Services Agency, also is working to expand the existing community health worker program, which focuses on testing and vaccine outreach across San Diego County's most underserved communities.

"Together, we have already expanded access to COVID-19 testing, sustained a project that is improving contact tracing efforts, and also are offering direct support to those who speak languages other than English," de la Torre said. "These collaborative efforts have direct and positive impacts on the daily lives of our community."

University officials encourage all community members currently eligible to get vaccinated — including SDSU students, faculty and staff — to consider all available community-based options for getting vaccinated. Most people in California will get vaccinated through their primary care physicians, pharmacies, county sites and other community-based locations.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher praised the ongoing collaboration.

"The county's long public health partnership with SDSU expanded in May 2020 to use community health workers trained by the university's public health department to help reach our most vulnerable population," he said. "The opening of a robust vaccination site at this well-known location offers an important expansion of our equity-focused outreach into the nearby historically underserved communities."

San Diego State To Open COVID-19 Vaccine Site In Viejas Arena Tuesday

In addition to hosting a county-operated vaccination site at Viejas Arena, SDSU continues its COVID-19 Testing Program, which has allowed public health and epidemiology teams to actively monitor potential COVID-19 risk in real-time and to create interventions as needed.

The university's Student Health Services continues to offer testing for all students, including mandatory testing for those in on-campus housing, who are taking in-person courses and who are engaged in university research. Through SDSU's partnership with the county, testing offered at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center remains available to faculty and staff as well as the public.

Meanwhile, the county's first and largest vaccination super site at Petco Park, which administered more than 200,000 Moderna vaccines, closed this weekend in preparation for the San Diego Padres opening day.

The Petco Park site had closed temporarily multiple times due to lack of vaccines, but with the Padres preparing for opening day, its closure was inevitable.

The county, the city, UC San Diego and the Padres opened the superstation on Jan. 11. Five other superstations are operating in La Jolla, Chula Vista, La Mesa, San Marcos and Del Mar, even as the last one faces supply issues of its own.

Scripps Health, which runs the Del Mar site, announced Friday the super station will be closed on March 27 and 28, due to the low number of COVID- 19 vaccine doses delivered.

Patients who have appointments scheduled for those days will be rescheduled automatically through the MyTurn online appointment system.

Fletcher said last Wednesday more vaccines are on the way — 10% more this week than last week, in this case — but that the supply still is not keeping up with demand. Nevertheless, the 30 vaccinations sites in the county had room to expand.

"We are well-positioned," Fletcher said. "We can do significantly more doses each day than we are doing."

Fletcher said the county would like to cooperate with UCSD on vaccine sites in the future, indicating a future one is expected at the San Diego Convention Center once the supply of vaccines increases and occupancy at the other several dozen sites begins to fill.

Corrected:
KPBS is a service of San Diego State University.