Health care workers receive their COVID-19 vaccine in the tailgate lot of PETCO Park. / Photo by Matt Thomas for the San Diego Padres

Coronavirus vaccine stations are ramping up in North County.

After the region’s first vaccination superstation opened at Cal State San Marcos in late January, another at the Del Mar Fairgrounds opened on Friday. It’s the fifth vaccine superstation in San Diego County.

That’s good news for vaccination rates if the supply holds up. Last week, San Diego County officials announced a delayed arrival of an expected shipment from Moderna had impacted supply. As a result, the Petco Park site closed temporarily, forcing those appointments to be rescheduled. But the delay hasn’t appeared to slow down its North County superstation sites. On Feb. 12, the county reported that its “points of dispensing, or PODs, and North County Super Station in San Marcos have sufficient supplies to meet second dose appointments along with a limited supply of first doses.”

Smaller sites in North County have also opened to administer vaccines to health care professionals, public health staff and people over 65. In San Marcos, a new vaccination site for vulnerable seniors is open at West PACE from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. In Vista, a new vaccination site at the Linda Rhoades Recreation Center is capable of providing up to 500 doses daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays and Mondays. In Escondido, the former Palomar Medical Center is providing vaccines in a drive-through system at the old hospital’s parking garage Tuesdays through Saturdays. The former medical center could be the first site in the county to offer coronavirus vaccines, coronavirus testing and antibody therapy in a single facility, the Union-Tribune reported. In Oceanside, there’s a vaccination site at North Coastal Live Well Health Center.

“The good news is San Diego County has administered over 700,000 vaccinations and that number continues to climb! Two new vaccine distribution locations have opened in the North County, which will allow for even more people to get the vaccine,” Supervisor Jim Desmond, who represents District 5, wrote in a newsletter Monday. “San Diego County has the infrastructure ready for when we receive more vaccines, which is great! I know it may seem slow, but San Diego County is well ahead of many others in the state, and we are ready for the next doses to arrive! Progress is being made!”

San Diego County teachers, law enforcement and food and agriculture workers could be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine within the next month under phase 1B-Tier 1, 10 News reported. But some North County officials want police officers to be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine sooner. San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones appeared on KUSI Tuesday to advocate for vaccinating law enforcement officers after the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against allowing them to start receiving the vaccine. Desmond voted for the proposal and and tweeted about his disappointment when it failed. “Sadly, the majority of the Board voted against recommending law enforcement receive vaccinations today. I believe our brave women and men in uniform need the vaccination now,” Desmond wrote.

I’m putting a call out to readers who’ve gotten vaccinated or know someone who’s gotten vaccinated at one of the North County sites or plans to in the near future. Send me a message on Twitter or email to tell me about your experience.

Small North County Water Districts Disagree on Water  Needs

In a new story, Voice of San Diego’s environment reporter Mackenzie Elmer talked to water agency officials about how much water San Diego County actually needs. The San Diego Water Authority is projecting growth in future water demand for the county. But officials from small North County water districts like Oceanside, Olivenhein and Rainbow that buy water from the Water Authority think those projections are too high and in the end could increase costs for residents, Elmer wrote.

Sarah Davis, a management analyst for Oceanside’s Water Utilities Department, said the Water Authority’s initial predictions were 10 percent higher than what its own staff calculated.

Rainbow Municipal Water District General Manager Tom Kennedy is concerned because demand has dropped an average of 5.75 percent every year since 2005 amid the area’s declining agricultural economy yet the Water Authority told Rainbow its customers would buy 10 to 20 percent more over the next few decades. And Kim Thorner, general manager for Olivenhein Municipal Water District, which serves 87,000 people between Encinitas,  Solana Beach and parts of eastern San Diego, said we’ve always overestimated future water demands because of population growth. Data from her staff showed near-team water demand is 10 percent lower than the Water Authority’s projections.

The tension around projections and what the right investment mix is between wholesalers like the Water Authority and retailers like the small water districts in North County isn’t unusual, Elmer reported.

Subscribe to the Environment Report to learn more about the dispute from Elmer and get a roundup of environmental news every other Monday.

What We’re Working On

  • The Politics Report breaks down how the 2022 election cycle has already begun without newly drawn districts due to significant delays in Census data collection. Meanwhile, African communities are warning that language barriers in that data collection could shut them out of redistricting, the once-a-decade process of redrawing political boundaries, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan reported.

In Other News

  • Oceanside city officials are stepping back from a plan to restrict food services and share information about homeless residents at Brother Benno’s with the Oceanside Police Department. (Union-Tribune)
  • Oceanside’s first legal cannabis nursery could be coming soon to the agricultural region of South Morro Hills. Planning commissioners recommended approval for ZenLeaf LLC to operate four greenhouses to begin cannabis cultivation. Now, the City Council will have to approve conditional-use permits and the location permit for the project before it can move forward. (Union-Tribune)
  • A group of families and residents calling themselves Protect Our Community Now are protesting Poway Unified School District’s proposal to lease a 27-acre lot of land to Costco, alleging the district violated the state’s open meeting law and did not involve the community at every step. (inewsource)
  • Some Oceanside and Vista students will return to school in March. Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, most schools in San Diego County can’t fully reopen. Groups advocating for schools to reopen like the Parent Association of North County San Diego are contesting those regulations. (NBC 7, Union-Tribune)
  • And finally, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office is taking action to recover nearly $1.3 million in wages owed to employees of Baked in the Sun, a Vista bakery that closed in late 2018. (City News Service)

Kayla Jiminez was a staff writer for Voice of San Diego. She covered about communities, politics and regional issues in North County as well as school...

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.