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COVID-19 Vaccines In San Diego: The Whys And Hows

Linxing He, 90, receives the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at San Diego County's mass vaccination site at Petco Park, Jan. 19, 2021.
Courtesy of Jeff He
Linxing He, 90, receives the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at San Diego County's mass vaccination site at Petco Park, Jan. 19, 2021.
On Monday KPBS health reporter Tarryn Mento talked with Nick Macchione and Dr. Wilma Wooten of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency to get the latest on the vaccine situation.

If there are extra doses of vaccine at the end of the day at a county vaccination site, there is a plan for that.

If anyone is having trouble scheduling an appointment to get a vaccine, there is a reason for that.

And if there are suspicions that traditionally underserved areas are being shortchanged in vaccine allocations, the situation is about to change dramatically.

KPBS health reporter Tarryn Mento raised these concerns — and more — with San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency Director Nick Macchione and Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten this week. The two administrators provided candid answers for questions raised by KPBS listeners and viewers.

COVID-19 Vaccines In San Diego: The Whys And Hows

In a nutshell, the county's distribution plan for any extra doses at the end of a day depends on the location of the vaccine site. For the supersite at Petco Park, for instance, extra doses go to the homeless.

Folks are having trouble scheduling appointments for vaccines because there are not yet enough vaccines. When there are more, county sites are ready to schedule far more people.

Data does show that far fewer vaccinations have been given to Black and Latino San Diegans because the first wave of vaccinations was dedicated for health-care workers, most of whom are not in those demographic categories. Both Macchione and Wooten expressed how passionate they are about equitable distribution, detailed the steps the county has taken to place vaccine sites in all areas of the county, and noted that when distribution is based on age, rather than employment, the numbers will change.