A new COVID-19 vaccination site in San Diego has opened exclusively for those 65 and up.
The new site is also not taking any online appointments. Instead, caretakers or those eligible must call 211 San Diego.
The new vaccination site opened Thursday in the San Marcos parking lot of Gary & Mary West PACE, which is part of a national network of programs that focus on all types of care for seniors. The site was created in an effort to improve vaccine accessibility for seniors.
"For seniors, particularly those without access to a computer, it's very difficult to get an appointment, so from the beginning, we partnered with 211 to get them an appointment and also assist with transportation and other needs," said Tim Lash, CEO and president of Gary and Mary West PACE.
Lash said he and their partners at the Gary and Mary West Foundation, West PACE, the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center, and West Health are committed to ensuring the COVID-19 vaccine reaches vulnerable seniors.
"When people come, they're excited and energized -- not just the volunteers but those getting vaccinated, and it's just a privilege to be around them," Lash said.
Avice Hillyer is a North County great-great-grandmother, and at 90 years old, she was able to get her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the site. Her daughter Rita Bennett said it was easy to get her mom the appointment because all she needed to do was make a phone call.
"My problem was I didn't want her to stand in the rain or be in a long line, and I was worried about her at her age," Bennett said. "So when this came up, this was like a godsend. It was perfect."
The duo drove in from Fallbrook and were quickly able to check-in because the site had pre-populated forms ready to review and sign. Then they moved to their pod, where the vaccinators rode over to them in a mobile cart.
"What we wanted to do is minimize the amount of movement necessary," Lash said.
The site is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in the parking lot of Gary and Mary West PACE at 1706 Descanso Ave. To get an appointment for seniors call 211 San Diego.
Currently, the site is vaccinating about 100 people a day. Organizers anticipate they will quickly increase that to about 500 or more seniors per day.