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Petco Park super station to close Saturday due to supply issues just as new vaccination groups become eligible

The closure comes at an inopportune time, as more than 500,000 teachers, law enforcement and food workers were able to begin to receive vaccinations on Saturday.

SAN DIEGO — Due to a shortage of Moderna vaccine, the UC San Diego run Petco Park vaccination station will close again starting Saturday, the same day scheduled to make vaccinations available for San Diegans who work in emergency services, child care and education, food handling and agriculture, according to Scott Lafee from UC San Diego Medical Center.

"I am very grateful to have gotten my second shot," said Jeanette Arthur. The San Diego resident says she's one of the lucky ones, even after waiting more than four hours downtown outside Petco Park on Friday.

It turns out she was one of the last people able to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before the super station had to be shut down.

"The nurses were taking count who had vaccines and every one of them had none," she said.

Moments later, UCSD and county officials announced plans to close down for a third time citing a shortage of the Moderna doses. It's part of a nationwide problem as shipments of the vaccine continue to be delayed due to the midwest snowstorms.

According to UC San Diego Health, which runs the county's largest vaccine site at Petco Park, county officials are closing the site and all appointments for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be rescheduled. People who were scheduled can check their MyUCSDChart account -- the health system's electronic notification system -- or email for details.

The closure comes at an inopportune time, as more than 500,000 emergency services, child care and education and food and agriculture workers were scheduled to be able to receive vaccines beginning Saturday.

Those making appointments will be required to show a photo ID and proof of eligibility. Please keep in mind that vaccine supplies are still limited, so patience is required over the next several weeks.

Eligibility documents vary for the respective sectors but include a pay stub or timesheet issued within the last 90 days, an employee ID card, or a letter from the employer.

Each of the newly-eligible sectors includes a wide variety of occupations and there are employer-coordinated vaccination plans in place for certain subsets of those groups.

For example, law enforcement officers will have their vaccination appointments coordinated by Scripps Health, regardless of their insurance carrier. 

Education staff working in TK through 12th grade who are covered by California Schools VEBA, must use vebavaccinates.com and should not show up at any vaccination site prior to an appointment confirmed through VEBA. Education staff working at childcare facilities or institutions of higher education should make appointments at any County Point of Distribution (POD), Super Station or other vaccination location.

On Wednesday, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher had a positive tone about the direction of the pandemic and vaccine rollout. Cases continue to decrease, as do hospitalizations and positive test results. Yet the demand for vaccines continues to far outpace supply.

The county's existing doses will be largely reserved for second doses. Other vaccination super stations and smaller points of distribution will continue to administer second doses this weekend and into next week, as supplies allow.

On Wednesday, Fletcher did caution that appointments would not be immediately available to everyone who qualifies.

"We need folks to be patient," Fletcher said Wednesday, adding that the county will prioritize K-12 schools in ZIP codes hardest hit by COVID-19.

As part of efforts to spur the reopening of schools, Fletcher said 20% of vaccine doses will be prioritized for teachers and school staff, as opposed to the 10% outlined by state leaders.

The county will set up appointments directly with K-12 school districts, Fletcher said, while all others who fall into phase 1B -- including education and child care workers outside of K-12 campuses -- can schedule appointments through typical public means such as the county's website.

Of 938,765 vaccine doses the county has received as of Friday, 832,800 have been administered, with more than 8,500 awaiting documentation and 97,400 yet to be administered. Of the county's population over the age of 16, 20.2% have received at least one dose and 8.7% -- or 232,958 people -- have been fully inoculated.

On Sunday, a site will open in Lemon Grove, operating from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays and Mondays. The site will be at the Lemon Grove Community Center, 3146 School Lane. When fully operational, the Lemon Grove clinic will be able to administer 500 doses daily.

WATCH:  San Diego's Petco Park COVID-19 vaccine site closed on Feb 18, 2020: