Dozens line up in Balboa Park hoping to get Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Posted at 5:28 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 20:51:54-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Dozens of people spent Tuesday camped out outside the Balboa Park municipal gym hoping to get any leftover doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

Tuesday morning, The San Diego Fire-Rescue department began administering the first batch of doses to those who are eligible since the first shipment arrived on Monday.

Addie Burnett said she hasn't been able to get an appointment over the phone and she doesn't have a computer. At the age of 80, she's been eligible for weeks.

"I get in my car and come down, I've done this all over the city trying to get my shots, I go to different locations and I wait and I wait and I wait," said Burnett.

She's hoping to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so she doesn't have to do this twice.

"I just have a good feeling about it, and it's one shot only. Why would you want to go for two when you can get one," said Burnett.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 72% effective in research trials, compared to Moderna at 94% and 95 % for Pfizer. Health officials say all three were 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. It's not a concern to Burnett.

"I'm ready to drop my jacket and just throw out whatever I gotta throw out and hit it!" she said.

One thousand of the J & J vaccines are set aside for people who have been living at the convention center.

"We will make sure as many people as possible get vaccinated and that starts with some of the most vulnerable San Diegans which by definition live here," said Mayor Todd Gloria.

Firefighters and nurses will give the shots Tuesday and Wednesday at the convention center. The goal is to vaccinate as many homeless people as possible before they're transferred to other shelters at the end of the month.

"We want to prioritize the J & J vaccine for those hardest to reach, the most underserved, those with whom two doses could provide a challenge," said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

As of Tuesday, appointments at the Balboa Park site were booked for the week, but the county encourages people to keep checking.