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Poway couple's 10-and-a-half hour 'nightmare' vaccination trip ends without second dose

Poway couple's 10-and-a-half hour 'nightmare' vaccination trip ends without second dose
Posted at 4:23 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 21:27:04-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Poway couple says their vaccination trip to get to the Petco Park Super Station turned into a never-ending nightmare.

"Our attempt to get a vaccine was a nightmare," said Craig Wagner, 72.

The Wagners got their first dose of the Moderna vaccine in late January at the Petco Park Super Station after a two-hour wait. Their appointment for the second dose was pushed back four days to Wednesday.

That morning, Craig and his wife Sharon, 70, got off the 163 around 9 a.m., ahead of their 10:15 a.m. appointments.

"A hundred feet from making a left onto G Street and the traffic was stopped," said Wagner.

ABC 10News cameras recorded the gridlock that day amid the on-and-off rain.

"It was a dead stop and then moving like 10 feet every hour and a half," said Wagner.

Just before noon, the threat of lightning shut down the vaccination site for an hour. As the nearby streets turned into a parking lot, the hours dragged on and their frustrations grew.

"It was discouraging, with so many people at different intersections, trying to merge into the same line. People were constantly trying to cut in as well," said Wagner.

A few hours turned into five, with the traffic not getting any better.

"No water, no food, and no bathroom. Your body is screaming at you ... Fortunately, I had a bucket I could go in ... You were frozen, thinking I have to stay here for as long as I can take it, because they're going to get me in," said Wagner.

Finally at around 7:30 p.m., after a 10-and-a-half hour wait, and a third of a mile from the vaccination site, the Wagners left without a vaccination.

"We couldn’t take it anymore physically," said Wagner.

UCSD Health, which oversees the site, contacted the couple Friday and scheduled them for a 3:30 p.m. Friday appointment time. The Wagners say there was no line and they were vaccinated with no wait.

As for their previous vaccination trip, the Wagners believe there should have been better traffic control and updates for those in line.

UCSD Health issued the following statement:

"We deeply apologize for the experience that the Wagner family, and others, encountered on Wednesday. We are aware of their difficulties and we are doing our best to offer a remedy. Our goal, now and always, is to have all vaccinations proceed seamlessly, without frustration, for all visitors.

As background, Wednesday was an extraordinary day, presenting unusual challenges due to three converging and overlapping factors: 1) The vaccination site was re-opened after a days-long closure due to the national vaccine shortage; 2) a lightning storm forced a temporary pause in operations and; 3) significant numbers of the public arrived at the vaccination station without scheduled appointments.

We are reaching out to everyone who did not make their vaccination appointment due to the factors above so that they can be rescheduled ASAP. Those who missed their appointments should check their email for new vaccination dates ... From the opening of Petco, we have worked daily and closely with SDPD and city planners to refine and improve traffic flow, including adjustments to traffic lights, delaying some nearby construction projects, and converting K St. into a one-way thoroughfare, creating two lanes of traffic off Imperial Ave. and into the lot. We’ve also made flow adjustments inside the lot to move more cars into the site at a time.

Fortunately, appointments are now running smoothly, reducing traffic issues.

Be assured that we are doing our best to vaccinate those waiting for their second dose of Modena, as soon as possible. To date, UC San Diego Health has administered almost 200,000 doses at Petco for the public."