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Esther Sanchez
Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez speaks on March 15 about the need for the city’s newest COVID-19 vaccination center at the North Coastal Health and Human Services Facility at 1701 Mission Ave., in Oceanside. Photo by Steve Puterski
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New COVID-19 vaccination center unveiled in Oceanside

OCEANSIDE — San Diego County’s newest COVID-19 vaccine facility will open March 16 at the North Coastal Health and Human Services Facility, according to Supervisor Jim Desmond and Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez.

The two held a press conference on March 15 outlining the capabilities of the new center, which is expected to reach up to 700 vaccines per day, depending on supply, according to Jennifer Bransford-Koons, the director of testing and vaccine operations for the county.

The center, located at the North Coastal Health and Human Services Facility at 1701 Mission Ave., replaces the Ocean Ranch facility, which will now convert to a testing site Bransford-Koons said. The Mission Avenue site will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Desmond and Sanchez another goal for the new location is to target two of the city’s hardest city neighborhoods by the virus, specifically the 92058 zip code. The county has been using the Healthy Places Index to identify and vaccinate those adversely impacted communities around the county.

“This is in the middle of two Latino communities and they will be able to walk here,” Sanchez said. “I’ve been talking with Supervisor Jim Desmond about moving and getting more vaccines. For us here, this is one of the things we’re able to do.”

The new facility is a walk-in, appointment-only center, although vaccines will be reserved specifically for residents in the 92058 zip code, Bransford-Koons said.

Helping administer the vaccines is a detachment of California Army National Guard troops stationed out of Long Beach. The unit has been deployed to San Diego County since January and was also posted to the Ocean Ranch facility.

According to Chief Warrant Officer Brandon Warren, 13 guardsmen and women will be on-site to administer shots and assist with the paperwork.

Sanchez said Latino neighborhoods in the city, specifically Crown Heights and the east side, have been hit the hardest and resources have been lacking to get those people vaccinated. The county, Desmond added, will assist the city in communication and outreach efforts to push the availability and scheduling of appointments.

“This clinic will provide a vital role in the vaccine distribution to one of the communities hardest hit by COVID-19,” Desmond said. “We know that not everyone has the same access to vaccines, but this vaccination center will bring county resources to one of the most vital areas to help us defeat the virus in North County.”

As for the vaccine, Bransford-Koons said the number of daily shots depends on supply from the county via the state. This week, she said, will see an increase in vaccines, although she did not know how many more.

The Pfizer vaccine will be available as the first shot, while the Moderna vaccine will be an option for the second dose, Bransford-Koons added.

San Diego County is expected to drop to the red tier on March 17, Desmond said. Additionally, more than 1.7 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, he added.

Bransford-Koons also said a new supercenter at the former Sears location at The Shoppes at Carlsbad will open in the coming weeks.

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