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University of California Health creates a “vaccine superstation” in San Diego

The UC San Diego Health vaccine superstation at Petco Park

Rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is dominating headlines — and nowhere more so than in the medical community. That’s why it’s so exciting for us to announce that UC San Diego Health is at the forefront of providing speedy vaccine access to eligible health care workers and community members.

UC San Diego Health made local headlines when it successfully vaccinated more than 10,000 of its health care workers over a four-week period. Then, San Diego County Public Health Services approached the medical center for help executing its vision: the first large-scale vaccination site in California. UC San Diego Health leadership was on board, and came up with an ingenious solution for the question of where the site would be located — Petco Park, home to the San Diego Padres baseball team. By Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021 — less than a month after the site’s Jan. 11 opening — the mass vaccination site had inoculated more than 100,000 eligible community members.

The vaccination superstation is a sophisticated venture, operating in close partnership between UC San Diego Health, the San Diego Padres, San Diego County Public Health Services, the San Diego Police Department and other community organizations. It features coordinated traffic flows, restrooms, wireless internet, self-scheduling appointment functionality and more.

“We are in a race between the pace of vaccination and the spread of the virus, especially new variants. The innovative approach at Petco Park significantly speeds up the pace of vaccination, which will make a real difference in public health,” said Dr. Carrie L. Byington, executive vice president of University of California Health and an infectious disease specialist. “It’s always a game-changer when academic medicine works closely with community partners in pursuit of a shared goal.”

“Ending this pandemic requires every tool available, from masking to testing to vaccinations,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The effort to vaccinate more people more quickly requires the close collaboration of multiple partners… this new combination of leadership, resources, expertise and logistics will bring optimal public health results for the benefit of everyone in San Diego County.”

The superstation is staffed by UC San Diego Health personnel — medical and administrative — many of whom are volunteers. One is Heather Buschman, senior manager of communications and teacher, UC San Diego Health. She wrote of her experience, “As we near a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to forget that we’re living in a truly historic time, and I’m proud to play at least a small part in the solution.”

UC San Diego Health’s efforts to combat the coronavirus continue to expand: On Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, leaders opened a second COVID-19 vaccination site on the main UC San Diego campus. Located at the Recreation, Intramural and Athletic Complex, the site will primarily serve vaccination-eligible UC San Diego Health patients as well as UC San Diego faculty and staff.

Read more about the vaccine superstation from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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