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In-Depth: How San Diego's vaccine super site compares to other cities and states

Efforts for mass vaccinations ramp up across U.S.
Posted at 8:11 AM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 11:11:44-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Local leaders are hailing the opening of San Diego's vaccination super station as a massive success after the first few days saw more vaccinations distributed than previously planned.

But as efforts to ramp up distributions at Petco Park to 5,000 doses per day continue, ABC 10News wanted to find out if San Diego is ahead of the game or only playing catch up.

"We want to rapidly and quickly learn the lessons from this and then plan more," says County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, while adding that another Super Station is in the works for the South Bay.

While San Diego's site is the first of its kind in California, similar sites are scheduled to open across the state in the coming days. Gov. Gavin Newsom says it's the only way to ensure everyone in the state gets a vaccination as quickly as possible.

In Los Angeles County, Dodger Stadium will transform from a mass testing site to a mass vaccination site later this week. Their goal is to deliver 12,000 vaccines per day.

Orange County announced a plan to use Disneyland as the first of five super sites. They already have three other, smaller, mass vaccination sites open. Officials there say they hope to finish vaccinating everyone by July 4th, a move they're calling "Operation Independence."

Newsom also announced plans for a super site at the CalExpo State Fairgrounds to open later this month.

"The current strategy is not going to get us where we need to go as quickly as we need it to go," the governor said Monday while calling the creating of the super sites "encouraging."

"Get (these vaccines) out of the freezer and into people's arms," he added.

Even with the new super sites planned, California is still behind several other states' mass vaccination efforts.

Arizona opened a super site at the Cardinals' State Farm Stadium. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The goal is 12,000 vaccinations per day.

State officials in Arizona say they plan to open more super sites and pair them with more than 1,400 clinics and pharmacies that are already approved to administer the vaccine.

Texas already has 28 "super hubs" spread across the state, with a plan to give more than 158,000 shots this week alone.

New Jersey opened six "mega sites" on Monday to help with vaccinations.

In New York, two vaccine "hubs" in the Bronx and Brooklyn opened over the weekend. State officials say they've moved onto a new phase where school employees, teachers, first responders, and transit employees are now eligible for the vaccine. The "hubs" will help facilitate the expected rush of people looking for shots.

Other states are using smaller sites but on a larger scale to get ahead.

Louisiana has 209 locations set up for people to get an appointment when their tier is called. Most of those are in grocery stores and pharmacies.

Massachusetts has 114 sites set up for the public to get a vaccine. They also have a plan in place for first responders, like police officers and firefighters, to get the vaccine at their local departments, as long as the department promises to administer more than 200 doses.

San Diego leaders say they hope the super sites can take some of the burdens off local doctors and pharmacies, which will still be instrumental in delivering the vaccines.

"The notion that everyone's going to get the vaccine by going to where they normally get their healthcare is simply not fair to the doctors and nurses and teams that are out there responding to the pandemic," Fletcher says.

Meanwhile, the federal government says they'll look at which states have the best plan to administer the vaccines before deciding how to distribute the rest of the supply. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says states with the most effective strategies will get priority.