On Wednesday, San Diegans who are experiencing homelessness and are residing at the San Diego Convention Center emergency shelter received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the city of San Diego announced.
Residents who are at least 65 years old or in the county's phase 1B, tier 1 category received the Moderna vaccine on-site at the convention center.
“Rolling out the vaccine to those staying at Operation Shelter to Home is an important step forward in our vaccination efforts,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “These residents can be some of the most vulnerable among us, so it’s encouraging to be able to offer them protection against the COVID-19 virus. I look forward to expanding these efforts to the rest of our shelter residents and all San Diegans as soon as possible.”
The city of San Diego worked with the county, San Diego Housing Commission and homelessness service providers Alpha Project and Father Joe’s Villages to develop notification and scheduling processes ahead of the vaccinations coming to the shelter.
The convention center currently provides shelter and services to more than 900 San Diegans experiencing homelessness. Of those, approximately 80 qualified under the current phase will receive the vaccination, the city said.
One hundred doses were made available to the shelter on Wednesday. Additional doses not administered to shelter residents were made available to operation staff who were eligible to receive the vaccine, the city said.
Operation Shelter to Home continued its regular mass testing of asymptomatic residents and staff on Monday and Tuesday this week.
In December, the shelter experienced the same uptick in cases as the broader San Diego community. Since that time, COVID-19 detection has been reduced back down to a 2.3% positivity rate as of the last testing cycle on January 19, compared with the region-wide 14-day average rate, which was 11.9% for that same time period, the city said.
The second dose will be needed approximately four weeks after the initial round.