‘Vax at The Park': A Closer Look at The Success, Costs of Mobile Vaccination Events Hosted by Padres

NBC 7 takes a closer look at the success and cost of those previous events

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Next Tuesday, the San Diego Padres will team up with the county to host a third mobile vaccination event prior to a baseball game at Petco Park.

Although, the events are held at a considerable expense to the county. The county has paid more than $60,000, including staffing costs for two events held in June.

At the two events, 326 people have been vaccinated.

"It’s a good idea. I think anywhere you can get people vaccinated even if it’s one or two people, it’s a win,” said East Village resident Brandon O’Shea.

As of Friday, 84% of eligible San Diego County residents have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but the challenge has been to convince the rest of population to get inoculated.

Mobile vaccination sites at other large public events across the country have had mixed results.

For example, a mobile vaccination site at a recent Kanye West concert attend by 40,000, drew just four people. An event held by the Atlanta Falcons football team attracted 30 people.

At the Padres "Vax at the Park" event on June 12, 156 people were vaccinated. A second Vax at the Park event on June 26, drew 170 people for vaccinations.

The mobile vaccination events are not cheap.

The county paid $40,000 to the Padres for advertising and promotion, which includes $10,000 for 200 game tickets, for the first two events at Petco Park, according to a county spokesperson.

The county also says it costs at least $10,000 for staffing at any mobile vaccination site.

For the August 24 "Vax at the Park" event, the county will pay the Padres $22,500, with the team donating 300-game tickets for the event.

Many wonder if the price is worth it.

“Definitely a good idea to continue having that and offering that at the game, even if you feel that you’re not getting the right return on investment necessarily. I think it’s less about the money and more about saving lives,” said O’Shea.

“It cost a lot of money to keep shutting down our economy and to fill up our ICU’s and hospital beds and the damage that it’s taking on our health care system. I think collectively those damages will cost us a lot more than paying for these pop up vaccination clinics,” said Petco Park visitor Brandon O’Shea.

Both the Padres and county provided statements to NBC 7 for this report:

“After partnering with the City and County to administer approximately 250,000 vaccinations at the Tailgate Lot site this year, we continue to use Petco Park and other Padres’ resources to encourage San Diegans to get vaccinated and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.  The Padres were proud to provide the extended use of Tailgate Lot, the time and logistical support of its full-time staff, and promotional support at no cost to the City and County.  The more recent pop-up vaccination efforts at the ballpark have included access to Padres game tickets and the cost of those tickets have been covered by the County as part of their vaccination efforts,” said Craig Hughner, Vice President, Communications, San Diego Padres.

“First and foremost, our goal is to vaccinate our community anywhere they are willing to get vaccinated. Of course bigger public events we would like bigger numbers. Countywide our percentage of vaccinated is good. With the spread of the Delta variant, we’re hoping more people will take advantage at the upcoming Padre County vaccination event.  Each vaccination is a step forward,” said Michael Workman, Director, County Communications Office.

At next Tuesday’s planned "Vax at the Park" event prior to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the first 150 people who get vaccinated at Gallagher Square in Petco Park will receive a free pair of tickets to the Sept. 8 game against the Los Angeles Angels along with a commemorative T-shirt.

The clinic runs from 1 to 5 p.m. for everyone, and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for those with tickets to that evening’s game, according to the Padres.

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