By Allison Royal
February 11, 2021
SAN MARCOS, Calif. — A new COVID-19 vaccination site designed specifically for senior citizens interested in receiving the coronavirus vaccine opened in San Marcos on Thursday, Feb. 11.
About 40 employees hope to vaccinate 100 San Diego County seniors on the first day, then eventually work up to vaccinating over 500 seniors per day.
Some seniors don’t have access to computers at home or the internet, which makes scheduling a vaccination appointment challenging. The San Marcos site on 1706 Descanso Avenue hopes to eliminate those obstacles.
This Gary and Mary West PACE site does require appointments, but seniors won’t need a computer to schedule an appointment. Appointments can be made over the phone by calling 211. Additionally, a 211 operator can also help seniors find a ride to their appointment.
Mary Grace received one of the first appointments at the site after she called 211. She said it felt a lot like receiving a flu shot.
“I feel good,” said Mary Grace, a 69-year-old who doesn’t own a computer. “I’m happy. I got my vaccine.”
The site was designed primarily for San Diegans 75 and older with mobility issues. Organizers toured other county vaccination sites, such as the Petco Park site, to identify features that impact seniors. From there, it took two weeks to plan.
“We designed a very streamlined operation where once the senior arrives, they’ll be put in one – you know – little pod where their caregiver can also be with them and from there, everything coming to them,” said Tim Lash, the president of Gary and Mary West PACE.
The goal is to make the site as senior-friendly as possible. Staff members received training in geriatric care.
“We had a 97-year-old person here yesterday as we were doing a trial run and just delighted – almost high-fiving all the staff and you know, it brought tears to my eyes to see,” said Lash.
It will be open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This includes holidays. Staff members recommended seniors and any caregivers bring a jacket in case it’s chilly outside and maybe a book to stay busy.