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Firefighters deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to thousands in pop-up pods

Firefighters across the county recently collaborated to help vaccinate rural communities and long-term care facilities with little to no waiting in line.

SAN DIEGO — Firefighter Paramedics from more than 20 agencies across San Diego County, including Cal Fire, have formed pop-up vaccination pods in rural communities after they saw a need to help those not able to drive to and wait at other centers.

"We offer another option for folks to get out, especially ones who may have a harder time making it to some of these other places, " said Captain Thomas Shoots from Cal Fire.

Stella and Gene drove right in to the temporary pop-up pod in Jamul and got their first dose today without waiting at all.

"Because I have grandchildren and I want to see those grandchildren. I had a grandchild born in Houston on Dec. 24 and I want to go see him," said Stella.

Don has the same reason for getting his COVID vaccine.

"Personally I could care less about me. I'm doing this for my family and friends," said Don.

The 250 available appointments for this temporary pod in Jamul booked up fast ahead of Friday, but this opportunity will move to other rural areas across the county.

 "Earlier this week we were in Borrego, Julian. We got many other stops planned these next several weeks," said Shoots.

Firefighter Paramedics are also vaccinating people at several other pods across the county and in long-term care facilities.

They inoculate about 1,000 people a day and hope to hit a total of 10,000 people vaccinated within the next couple of days.

"We are going to stay out here until that need is met," said Shoots.

 "I really do appreciate their hard work. It was very easy nice way to do it," said Stella.

The pop-up pod will move to Ramona over the weekend. These pop-up rural vaccination pods will continue indefinitely. You can make an appointment here.

The County of San Diego and its partners are offering vaccinations to individuals in eligible priority groups. Effective 01/23/21, the following groups are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in San Diego County: Appointments and proof of eligibility is required at all sites. Space is limited and appointments are updated regularly.

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