SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Making sure San Diegans are protected from COVID-19 has been a goal for Dr. Marlene Millen throughout this pandemic.
The primary care physician has spent more than a decade around many patients, but seeing thousands of people come through the Petco Park vaccination super station was unlike anything she had ever experienced before.
January 11, 2021, was a big day for the UC San Diego doctor.
“This opportunity to vaccinate the community in San Diego was just such a relief; honestly, I think I cried the first day it opened,” said Millen. “I started vaccinating right at the beginning there and have been coming out and helping out vaccinating and serving as the physician of the day. I got to play a small part as one of the physicians and chief medical information officer leads.”
Millen said the team of doctors, nurses, and so many volunteers became a family working to protect the community.
“We’re all part of the community, but this really made us realize how integrated we all are, this pandemic, and being able to go out and do our part to help is just very touching and meaningful to all of us,” she said. “Any time we gave people a vaccine, even if they had waited hours sometimes unfortunately due to traffic or situations beyond their control, they would just be so grateful.”
She said once people were vaccinated, there would be cheering, clapping, and sometimes tears.
One note written for the team read in part, “I don’t know you, but I want to thank you for vaccinating my grandma this morning. Because of people like you, I have so much hope that the world will be normal again soon.”
While the Petco Park site experienced some closures that lasted days due to weather damage and then a shortage of vaccines, leading to delayed and canceled appointments, the site still managed to give more than 215,000 COVID-19 doses to San Diegans. Approximately 120,000 of those were first doses.
The location officially shut down over the weekend, but the time spent there will have a lasting impact on Millen’s life.
“Going forward, it just shows me that when something happens, we can come together as a community and make a difference," said Millen.
She is currently helping oversee UCSD's other super station on campus in La Jolla.