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New COVID-19 Vaccine Site for Vulnerable Seniors at West PACE in San Marcos

A new COVID-19 vaccination site designed specifically for the community’s most vulnerable seniors opened Feb. 11 at West PACE in northern San Diego County. The appointment-only site located at 1706 Descanso Ave. in San Marcos will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (including holidays). Organizers anticipate that the site will quickly begin vaccinating approximately 500 or more seniors per day.

Appointments can be made by dialing 2-1-1.

Vaccines will be administered through a coordinated public-private effort among the Gary and Mary West Foundation, West PACE, the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center, West Health, the county of San Diego, city of San Marcos and 211 San Diego.

Geared Toward Seniors

“There is no higher priority than ensuring our most vulnerable seniors, who are directly in the crosshairs for severe disease or death from COVID-19, have convenient and trusted access to the vaccine,” said Shelley Lyford, President and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Foundation. “West PACE will provide that access in an environment specifically built for them and with people who truly understand their unique challenges during the pandemic.”

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The site, which will have an onsite supervising physician who specializes in geriatric care, will initially target seniors who are experiencing challenges navigating online appointment systems or who do not have the support of a family member or caregiver.

Appointments can be made by calling 211 San Diego, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating access barriers including low to no computer skills, lack of a digital device or email address, or high-speed internet at home.

“This vaccination site, which is the product of a coordinated effort by various municipal, academic, business, healthcare, social service, and philanthropy organizations, expands on promises made in our region to keep seniors safe and healthy at home,” said Tim Lash, CEO, West PACE. “We are confident that by working together and staying focused, our efforts will help the county of San Diego meet the goal of vaccinating 1.8 million residents by July 2021.”

Experts Tapped for Site’s Design, Implementation

The Gary and Mary West Foundation and their collaborators are consulting with UC San Diego’s Rady School of Business operations and logistics specialists to create a site that will operate at maximum efficiency and community impact.

Site features include:

• Elimination of long lines. Rather than waiting in their car or on foot, seniors and their caregivers can park at no charge and walk up to the site designed for geriatric patients.

• Arrangements for a senior to stay with their caregiver throughout their visit.

• Care navigators to assist patients who arrive on their own.

• Less movement from station-to-station within the site (once seated, patients may remain seated until the visit is concluded).

• Accommodations for mobility and cognitive impairments.

• Interpretation services through Interpreters Unlimited, a San Diego-based company providing free foreign language and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation through video remote or phone services.

• Automatic booking of patient’s second vaccination appointment.

• Earlier hours of operation than other vaccine sites in the county, providing more choice to family members and caregivers to help a senior receive the vaccine before work.

“The pandemic has revealed gaps in our supports for seniors that are a matter of life or death for older adults,” says Rena Smith, executive director, West PACE. “Some of the most apparent gaps are playing out as many older adults are struggling to obtain an appointment to get a vaccine. By hosting this vaccine site, we hope to provide an easy to access and age-friendly experience that will break down the barriers to vaccine access.”

The site at West PACE in San Marcos is a community COVID-19 vaccination site for seniors. For more information and to book an appointment, dial 2-1-1.

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