County’s fourth vaccine super site opens in La Mesa

Coronavirus
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LA MESA, Calif. — The County of San Diego is expanding its vaccination efforts by opening its fourth vaccination super station, the first to come to the East County.

The walk-up clinic at the Grossmont Center shopping mall in La Mesa is operated by Sharp HealthCare and replaces a previous clinic on Wakarusa Street. It is located near the food court in the former Charlotte Russe clothing store with Sharp Grossmont Hospital right across the street.

“It’s super convenient to have it next to the hospital, because we have all of the support of the hospital. Any adverse reactions, we’re able to manage quickly with our staff,” Sharp Grossmont Hospital CEO Scott Evans said.

The clinic will offer up to 1,000 vaccines a day with the capacity to expand to 5,000 doses per day. Appointments are required at the site, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, Suite 112. San Diegans in Phase 1A and people 65 years and older in Phase 1B are eligible to receive vaccines.

San Diegans getting their first dose at Grossmont Center will get the Pfizer vaccine, but doses of Moderna’s will be available for anyone who had that vaccine first and needs a second dose. 

Carlsbad resident Nancy Bergmann made the drive to La Mesa from North County to get vaccinated.

“It was very important to me, because I see my 106-year-old mother who just survived COVID-19 every day,” Bergmann said, adding that she was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this year and really wanted the vaccine. 

“I’m very grateful to have it,” she said. “I just want this whole thing over with.”

As of Monday, 1.9% of San Diego County residents 16 years of age and older were fully vaccinated. Evans said super stations like the one at Grossmont Center are very important. 

“I love the idea that we can vaccinate masses of people in a safe and efficient manner,” Evans said.

Sharp is the first healthcare provider to operate two super stations, including the Chula Vista location. The Grossmont Center clinic is the fourth vaccination super station to open in the county with a fifth site scheduled to open at UCSD next Monday. Last month, the county opened clinics in San Diego’s East Village, Chula Vista and San Marcos.

The site in San Marcos was running smoothly Monday morning, 24 hours after a glitch caused appointments to be triple-booked on the first day of vaccinations at the site. Lines were longer Monday afternoon after site organizers said they had a surplus of vaccines.

Once vaccine vials are opened, all the doses have to be used by the end of the day or they go to waste. That’s led to late-forming crowds wrapping around the block at Petco Park in hopes of getting one of the extra doses. The doses are given out by age, oldest first.

“We are what I call vaccine chasers,” said Jami Taylor, a teacher in San Marcos. “They got to put those shots in arms, and I thought I’d get in line just in case.”

Site workers first called for people 85 and up, all the way down to 65 and up, before announcing teachers. Taylor lucked out. In all, about 40 people got surplus vaccines at Cal State San Marcos Monday, including a man as young as 57 years old.

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