Vaccination Site is ‘First of its Kind’ Designed Just for Seniors in San Diego County
SAN MARCOS, CA (February 11, 2021) — A new COVID-19 vaccination site designed specifically for the community’s most vulnerable seniors opened today, Thursday, 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.
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.
“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.”
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, high-speed internet at home. 211 San Diego connects individuals and families to health, community, and disaster services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is dedicated to providing easy and equitable access to information in over 200 languages. When seniors connect with 211 San Diego, they can talk to a live person who will assist them to schedule an appointment and find available transportation assistance including round-trip transportation for ‘curb to clinic’ services.
“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, President, 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.”
Area Experts Tapped to Participate in Vaccination Site Design and 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 to 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 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.
About the Gary and Mary West Foundation
The Gary and Mary West Foundation is the second-largest private, 501(c)(3) non-operating foundation in San Diego, California and was established in 2006 by successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists Gary and Mary West. Their greatest passions are improving care for our nation’s seniors, enabling them to age successfully and transforming high-quality healthcare delivery to make it more accessible and affordable for all Americans. The Gary and Mary West Foundation accepts grant applications by invitation only.
About West PACE
The nonprofit West PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) is part of an innovative, nationwide model of person-centered care for vulnerable seniors with chronic care needs offering high-quality, comprehensive and coordinated healthcare, social services and support to enable them to successfully age in place. Over 90 percent of PACE participants are able to successfully remain in their homes and communities, many live longer, are more socially engaged and have a better quality of life than those in nursing homes or other institutional settings.
Established with a grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation, West PACE program was specifically created to be the gold standard by which all PACE programs are measured. The West PACE center is located at 1706 Descanso Ave., San Marcos, Calif., 92078. Learn more about the program and eligibility requirements at westpace.org