San Diego County marked a pandemic milestone Friday when the one-millionth dose of the coronavirus vaccine was administered, according to San Diego County Chair Nathan Fletcher.
To mark the occasion, Fletcher visited vaccinators working at the county-run coronavirus vaccination site at the Tubman Chavez Community Center in southeastern San Diego.
“There’s a real sense of energy and almost exuberance here that we’re moving in the right direction," Fletcher told NBC 7 after touring the vaccine site.
Fletcher tweeted the milestone at 10:09 a.m., though Friday's celebrations were largely ceremonial, as the details of the millionth dose are difficult to track.
News and preparation of the milestone started circulating when the number of doses reached 997,287 on Thursday night.
Fletcher said in a celebratory press conference Friday that he is glad residents have been proactive in getting vaccinated. He added that getting inoculated can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and get things back on track.
"We also know as a county we are moving faster than any other county in the state of California to administer these vaccines so we can get our kids back in school, get our businesses back open and get back in the ballpark on Opening Day and really move forward," he said.
The vaccine first became available in the region in mid-December 2020.
Coronavirus Vaccine in San Diego
More stories about the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in San Diego County.
County public health officials have been updating this dashboard with the latest vaccination figures. As of Thursday night, the county said it had received 1,100,975 doses of the coronavirus vaccine over the course of about 2.5 months.
Today, there are 27 vaccination sites located throughout San Diego County, including vaccination super stations like the one near Petco Park in downtown San Diego, which aim to give up to 5,000 vaccinations daily. There are also vaccination super stations in Chula Vista, San Marcos, Del Mar, and La Mesa.
As of Feb. 27, the county is vaccinating these groups:
- Health care workers and all others who are eligible in Phase 1A, Tiers 1-3, in the county’s vaccination rollout plan
- People who are age 65 and older
- Frontline essential workers in Phase 1B, which includes those at risk of exposure through their work in these sectors: emergency services (including emergency operations, fire and law enforcement); childcare and education (teachers); and workers in food (restaurants) and agriculture.
Details on the county’s current COVID-19 vaccine phases can be found here.
According to county public health officials, across all 27 sites, the county has been averaging 14,000 coronavirus vaccination each day but has the capacity to administer up to 33,000 daily and more than 1 million per month.
A shortage of available vaccine doses – and delays in shipments of the vaccine to San Diego County and across the nation – have caused the slowdown.
NBC 7 has been tracking the coronavirus vaccine doses across the county here – including when there is sudden extra availability at local vaccination sites, and when sites temporarily shut down due to shortages.
California to Give 40% of Vaccine Doses to Vulnerable Communities
California is ramping up efforts to target its vaccine supply to vulnerable communities across the state, including those in San Diego County. Locally, outreach groups are helping with getting the vaccine into those communities.
As vaccine supplies across the state ramp up, the goal to vaccinate vulnerable communities is expected to help decrease COVID-19 case rates across counties and, thus, speed up the reopening of businesses and the economy.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said earlier this week that starting March 15, Californians living among 400 zip codes identified by the state as the most at-risk will be eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine, regardless of the vaccination phase or tier they fall under.
Appointments will be made using the state’s MyTurn website to ensure that people living in those zip codes are given priority. The state will also administer extra funds to community groups to help with ongoing vaccine outreach programs.
The state has vaccinated roughly 1.6 million people in vulnerable communities so far, and public health officials expect to hit the 2 million mark in the coming weeks.