SAN DIEGO — For law enforcement across the county, the frustrating wait is finally over. San Diego is now officially in Tier 1-B, opening up vaccines for anyone in emergency services.
Today, Scripps Memorial in La Jolla set up a special vaccination station to kickoff things off.
More than 200 sheriff’s department employees, mostly front-line deputies, attended the drive-through vaccination station with a sense of relief.
“COVID has just been so draining on everyone and it's exciting to move into another tier,” said Undersheriff Kelly Martinez.
Deputy Craig Webster showed up for his shot straight after finishing his night shift.
“It's good to not have to get out and find a building to go into,” he said. “Just pull in with my car and stay in it, get the vaccine, and when my waiting time is up to be able to get on my way.”
For law enforcement, it's been a long wait. The county prioritized other first responders, including firefighters and lifeguards, before police and sheriffs. For officers and deputies in the community every day, this will help relieve fears that they could be bringing the virus home to their families.
“Not only for our own risk, but the risk that we pose to the public and we really want to reduce that,” said Undersheriff Martinez. “Being able to vaccinate law enforcement will go a long way in doing that.”
Scripps has set up similar drive-through events for other eligible groups in the past. Those attending today appreciated the efficiency. Most were in and out within 30 minutes.
“It was a super easy process,” said Cassandra Case. “We scheduled it. We're here. We got it. Arm's not sore yet.”
Scripps plans to vaccinate more law enforcement personnel at additional clinics around the county later this week. It's not clear yet just how many still need - or want - the vaccine, but the pool of those now eligible is deep.
“There's a lot of law enforcement agencies,” said Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “We're talking federal agencies, state agencies, county and cities along with workers that support law enforcement. They're eligible now.”
Also included in this tier are educators and grocery store workers. The next tier is scheduled to open on March 15th with vaccinations for those with certain health conditions.