Vaccine Coronavirus Balboa Park
A San Diego firefighter prepares to begin vaccinating residents at the Balboa Municipal Gym. Courtesy SDFR

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department announced Friday it has hundreds of appointments available at its Balboa Municipal Gym COVID- 19 vaccine administration site, with more vaccines coming next week.

“We have capacity to do well over 1,000 vaccinations a day, but right now we’re only doing a few hundred,” said Jose Ysea, spokesman for San Diego’s public safety department. “We have plenty of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available today. Next week we’ll also have J&J.”

The gym, at 2111 Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park, has free, albeit limited, parking. Appointments are available Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can be made at

San Diego County public health officials reported 140 new COVID-19 infections and two deaths Thursday, as case rates continue to decline and hospitalizations remain steady.

Thursday’s data increase the cumulative totals in the county to 275,960 cases and 3,700 deaths.

Of 16,767 tests reported Thursday, 1% returned positive, lowering the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 1.5% from Wednesday’s 1.6%. That positive test rate is the lowest in 2021.

Hospitalizations from the virus declined by one to 161 from Wednesday’s reported 162. Patients in intensive care units decreased by three to 44 from Wednesday’s 47. There are 49 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.

County leaders reported that more than 1 million San Diegans are now fully vaccinated from COVID-19, as the county Health and Human Services Agency prepares for a shift in how it will go about administering vaccines.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Wednesday there is now slack in the vaccination system. Not significantly, he said, but there are more available appointments now than there have been since the rollout began. Because of this, the county will take actions to make getting a vaccine more convenient, such as extending the hours of several county-run vaccination sites to 8 p.m. and looking at the possibility of making some sites 24 hours.

All 23 county-run vaccine sites are now accepting walk-in visits, but the super stations are still appointment only.

San Diego County has received more than 2.95 million doses of vaccines and 2.68 million of those have been administered. The county received 292,950 vaccines this week, 18,000 fewer than the week prior.

A total of 1,447,272 people have received one dose of Pfizer or Moderna — or 71.8% of county residents eligible to receive a vaccine — and 1,006,392 people, or 49.9% of those eligible, are fully inoculated with either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The goal is to fully vaccinate 75% of San Diego County residents 16 and older, or 2,017,011 people.

–City News Service