NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV)-- A new San Diego County-run COVID-19 vaccination site opened Sunday morning in National City, one of the hardest-hit areas in the region.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on 12th Street is San Diego County's seventh community "pod" or "point of distribution," a smaller-scale vaccination site.
"Knowing that we can bring the vaccine to the communities, in the local neighborhoods, I think, is exactly what the County is supposed to be doing," San Diego County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Nora Vargas said.
At its peak, the National City pod will offer 500 shots a day. Like all other County-run sites, right now, it is only serving those who fall under the Tier 1A category: healthcare workers, those at long-term facilities, and people over 65 years old.
Newly announced Sunday, those who have trouble navigating the online booking system can now call 2-1-1 to book vaccine appointments. By next week, National City firefighters will become the region's first vaccine mobile unit.
"Our firefighters will be going to the 13 long-term care facilities in places where members can't go to a pod or vaccine super station," Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis of National City said.
Out of the twelve county-operated vaccination sites, National City's pod is the fifth location to be built in the South Bay. Others include the Chula Vista Super Station, Chula Vista pod, Sharp Coronado pod, and Imperial Beach pod. Supervisor Vargas said the aim is to tackle the problem at its source.
"Unfortunately, the need is so great in South County that that's why you're seeing it [being] prioritized now," Vargas said.
Mayor Sotelo-Solis said the goal is to reach herd immunity, which requires 48,000 out of the 60,000 National City residents to get the shot.
"The goal [is to get] people to get back to normal," Sotelo-Solis said. "Get back to being able to hug people and get together and fellowship."