SAN DIEGO – Mayor Todd Gloria led a virtual town hall Monday with other local leaders and public health experts in an effort to boost public confidence in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We still know there are people hesitant and resistant to take the vaccine,” said Nick Macchione, director with San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
The town hall comes a day after a new super vaccination site opened at Cal State’s San Marcos campus. A glitch reportedly caused appointments to be triple-booked Sunday, leaving patients waiting hours to get their vaccines.
Throughout the event, Gloria and others stressed the importance of vaccinations — not just for the sake of public health, but also for the economic recovery following the end of the pandemic.
“I really encourage San Diegans to take information from the doctors, not from your uncle on Facebook,” Gloria said.
San Diego County currently averages about 16,000 vaccinations a day. Public health officials say the county ideally needs to reach nearly 23,000 vaccinations each day to meet their goals by July. The city also also recently was authorized to receive the vaccine, joining the county and private health care partners to help vaccinate as many San Diegans as possible.
Some of the top questions during the town hall involved vaccine efficacy and the need to keep wearing a mask after getting vaccinated.
“With the first vaccination, it’s about 50% each effective and then after the second shot it’s 95 and 94.5 percent effective respectively for Pfizer and Moderna, then it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become effective,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer.
Another big concern from those tuning in was allergies or allergic reactions to the vaccine.
“We are all capable of handling those reactions — that’s why we watch people 15-20 minutes after the shots,” said Dr. Tom Lawrie, chief medical officer at Sharp Memorial Hospital, who also stressed that allergic reactions have been rare.