The convention center on the waterfront in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

 San Diego will administer more than 100 doses of COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday to eligible homeless residents sheltering at the San Diego Convention Center as part of the Operation Shelter to Home program.

The effort comes one day after the city was authorized to receive and administer vaccines and city paramedics began providing doses in Balboa Park Municipal Gym to area government workers eligible according to state and county guidelines, including those 65 and older.

Mayor Todd Gloria announced the city’s new role Tuesday evening.

“Increased access to vaccines is great news for the people of San Diego,” Gloria said. “Having the authority to set up our own vaccination sites will allow us to create more equitable access for residents and more nimbly get our residents vaccinated and our economy back on track.”

The city received an initial shipment of 1,200 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines this week.

Members of the public should not come to the Balboa Park site in hopes of obtaining a shot. The city will announce expanded access to vaccinations subject to eligibility and availability, Gloria said.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to deliver this vaccine to eligible employees,” Fire Chief Colin Stowell said. “As the largest city in our region, we can lessen the burden at the county vaccination sites. We have more than 70 paramedics trained to give the vaccine, and soon, emergency medical technicians will also be trained.”

Gloria is exploring additional city-owned locations as potential vaccination sites when more doses become available. The number of doses delivered directly to the city will depend on vaccine availability statewide.

On Tuesday, UC San Diego Health announced it will open a COVID-19 Vaccination Super Station on the UCSD campus next Monday, serving vaccination- eligible UCSD Health patients as well as the university’s faculty and staff.

The vaccination site will operate inside the UCSD’s Recreation, Intramural and Athletic Complex. The RIMAC site will be operated by UCSD Health, which also collaborates with the county, San Diego Padres and San Diego to run a vaccination superstation adjacent to Petco Park in downtown San Diego.

The Petco site, which opened Jan. 11, operates seven days a week and inoculates roughly 5,000 people each day. As of Feb. 1, more than 89,500 people had received their first doses of vaccine at the Petco site.

Once fully operational, the RIMAC site is projected to provide up to 5,000 vaccinations daily, operating seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Vaccinations will be administered by invitation only through the MyUCSDChart application and an online appointment scheduling process.

Unlike the drive-thru Petco vaccination superstation, inoculations will occur inside RIMAC.

Tuesday morning, San Diego County opened its fourth COVID-19 Vaccination Super Station at the Grossmont Center Mall in La Mesa, while a smaller point of distribution opened at the San Ysidro Southwestern College campus.

The Sharp HealthCare Grossmont Center Super Station will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting with the capacity to inoculate up to 2,000 people a day.

Sharp is providing 40 volunteers to staff 10 registration desks and 20 vaccination stations. The walk-thru clinic is located in the former Charlotte Russe clothing store. Reservations are required and can be made at

The Grossmont Center walk-thru site will replace and expand the site Sharp HealthCare had been operating on Wakarusa Street. Appointments made for that site will transfer to the super station at the mall.

The county is only vaccinating people who live or work in San Diego County and are health care workers and or 65 or older.

Doctors, pharmacies, community clinics and other health care providers are also providing vaccinations to San Diegans in the priority groups.

While vaccines have arrived in the region, supplies remain extremely limited. People are asked to be patient — as supply increases, providers will be able to perform more vaccinations.

As of Tuesday, 2% of San Diego County residents aged 16 and up have been fully vaccinated.

–City News Service

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