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Wait times deter some from getting vaccinated against COVID-19

Line to receive COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 11:45 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 11:48:58-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Some San Diego County residents 75 and older, expecting to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday, were met with disappointment. Long wait times forced some to give up and go home empty-handed.

Christi Yong says her 83-year-old mother had an appointment at the Escondido vaccination site, but when they arrived, they were told it would be a two-hour wait.

"It was getting cold, it was windy," Yong said. "It was starting to sprinkle a little bit, and at my mom's age, there's no way she could stand outside for that long. We decided not to take the chance of her getting sick or catching something out there. I took her home."

Erica Phung and her grandmother had a similar experience. Erica said her grandmother had an appointment at the vaccination supercenter near Petco Park in downtown San Diego and Phung drove her there.

"She is going to be 89 in March," Phung said. "She has emphysema, and she is a cancer survivor. She had breast cancer. For her, getting vaccinated was crucially important."

Erica says they never made it to the supercenter. They waited in traffic for nearly two hours without any significant movement. As it got closer to 5 p.m., they decided to head home.

"It really makes me frustrated and pretty angry that we can plan things like the Rock n' Roll Marathon, the Heart Walk, and other events, where you have thousands and thousands of people," Phung said, "and traffic is planned, and it's got a flow, and people get where they need to go, but something like this, there's not even a chance for people to get in.

A county spokesperson says a computer glitch at the Escondido location allowed double booking of appointment times, contributing to the longer wait times. Instead of turning them away, the county honored the appointments.

An appointment is needed to get vaccinated. And according to the county, people are showing up thinking they don't need one, which also increasing wait times.

Phung and Yong said they would be looking to try again and get their loved ones vaccinated.

"We're just trying to be as patient as we can with everything," Yong said. "We know that there's a lot of people that need it. And I know that the staff is probably doing the best they can with what they have."