Petco Park closure extended as storm chokes vaccine supply chain

Coronavirus
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SAN DIEGO — A temporary closure at the Petco Park vaccine “super station” has been extended through Sunday and Monday, as officials say they simply don’t have the doses to administer to residents.

“Petco Park Vaccination Super Station closure will extend to Sunday and Monday, Feb. 21-22, due to delayed vaccine shipments,” UC San Diego Health, which runs the site in partnership with San Diego County, announced on Twitter Saturday.

“Appointments for second doses on Feb. 19–22 were temporarily canceled and will be automatically reschedule. Check MyUCSDChart for updates.”

Originally the site was slated to be closed only Friday and Saturday, but officials always warned that could be extended as the vaccine supply chain gets choked by a devastating winter storm in many parts of the country.

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The federal government said Friday it would attempt to get all delayed doses to their designated locations by the end of next week, and San Diego County public health officials said they were ready to administer those shots as soon as they arrive.

“We have the mechanism in place to be able to administer all the doses we get in San Diego County,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “In the meantime, we’re asking San Diegans to be patient. As the delayed doses arrive, we will administer them to everyone who has an appointment and release new time slots.”

Currently, the county’s smaller vaccination points of dispensing — referred to as PODs — and the North County Super Station in San Marcos are only offering appointments for second doses. Appointments for first doses at these sites are being rescheduled into next week.

The Sharp HealthCare vaccination super stations at Chula Vista Center and Grossmont Center are still offering first and second dose appointments for the Pfizer vaccine.

The Petco Park site also was forced to delay appointments a week ago, when a Moderna vaccine shipment was delayed on Feb. 12. The site reopened Wednesday, but vaccine appointments were already disrupted.

The massive winter storm gripping much of the nation has frozen supply lines for the vaccines. Moderna produces the bulk of its vaccines in Massachusetts, while Pfizer makes its in Michigan. Sub-freezing temperatures across much of the United States have delayed shipments of the vials around the country.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that people can wait up to 42 days between doses and still achieve maximum immunity.

As of Friday, of the 779,000 vaccine doses the county has received, 705,985 have been administered, more than 5,000 are awaiting processing and 67,000 are yet to be administered. A total of 18.2% of San Diego County’s population over the age of 16 have received at least one dose and 6.1% are fully inoculated.

The county has five vaccine super stations and 15 smaller neighborhood distribution sites.

San Diego County reported 711 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 additional deaths Saturday. The data increased the number of COVID-19 infections to 256,513 since the pandemic began, while the death toll increased to 3,188.

It was also the ninth consecutive day with cases below 1,000 and the 12th straight day to fall beneath that metric.

Of 18,194 tests reported Saturday, 4% returned positive. Three community outbreaks were reported Saturday, with 26 reported in the past week and 102 cases associated with those outbreaks.

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