SAN DIEGO — Ninety-six-year-old William Schilling is an optimistic man. He hopes to live to be 110 years old, so he made sure he had an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We all have to get the shot, especially the seniors, because none of us want to die. My goal is 110; I got 15 more years to give,” he said with a smile.
Though optimistic, he’s not immune to frustration. Schilling says he waited in line for more than five hours at the Petco Park vaccination super station before finally giving up and having his caregiver take him home. Traffic at the site was snarled for hours after appointments had to be paused for a weather safety delay.
“We stood in line five hours, never moved a whole block! So we went up to this guard and said ‘How long is it going to take?’ and he said ‘Another five to six hours.’ I said, ‘We can’t, I can’t make it,” Schilling told FOX 5.
Schilling said he was on the verge of tears. He called waiting in line for that long one of the worst experiences of his life. He called and rescheduled his appointment for the following day and said it was easier the second time around. But he is not the only San Diego County resident worried about getting the second dose.
The Del Mar vaccination super station will close for one day Saturday, due to a shortage of vaccines. Everyone who was scheduled for a Saturday appointment has been rescheduled for Sunday. They are all set to get their second Pfizer vaccine.
San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said he understands the frustration.
“This is a struggle and it’s very hard,” he said. “I know it creates frustration because you have sites open and then sites have to either scale back or, in some instances, they have to pause.”
Fletcher explained that vaccine deliveries haven’t been reliable and the amounts arriving can be unpredictable.
“We still don’t have great clarity on what will be coming more than a day or two in advance, and as you’ve seen in the last few weeks, even when you’re told something is on its way (it) doesn’t mean it’s actually going to arrive,” he said at a recent news conference.
At least 22% of the county’s population has had their first dose and more than 10% have received the second dose, but San Diego can only distribute the doses that roll in.
Fletcher said he is hopeful that with the additional option of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the vaccination pace will pick up.