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San Diego Firefighters Delivering COVID-19 Vaccines To Rural Areas, Nursing Homes

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: 80-year-old Tera Parker gets a COVID-19 vaccine outside the Julian Library, Feb. 3rd, 2021.

Cal Fire San Diego and more than 20 local fire agencies are running Operation Collaboration which has delivered more than 7,000 vaccines to San Diegans.

“We transitioned right out of a historic fire season and transitioned into this,” said Cal Fire San Diego Captain Chris Resnick. “It’s a large operation with several cooperators involved … not just Cal Fire but other agencies such as Carlsbad, Lakeside and Santee.”

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Video by Roland Lizarondo

Cal Fire San Diego has been setting up vaccinations for long-term care facilities and popping up mobile sites in rural areas that last for just a couple days. On Tuesday and Wednesday, fire crews were at the Julian Library vaccinating residents 65 and older, health care workers and first responders.

“We were wondering and thinking, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to have long line,'” said 80-year-old Tera Parker from Vista. “But nothing, it was lovely.”

Back-country residents are grateful officials are bringing the vaccinations to them.

“My friends in Los Angeles are struggling to find appointments and it was so easy here,” said Joe Puerta who lives in Julian. “I thought I should tell them to drive three hours here.”

RELATED: San Diego County’s Fourth Vaccine ‘Super Station’ Opens At Grossmont Center In La Mesa

People who were able to get appointments here said they were checking the county’s website multiple times a day.

“Was the first available site that I could get,” said Scott Hamilton of Valley Center. “I tried Borrego Springs for a couple days after we tried San Marcos, Carlsbad — all those places.”

Operation Collaboration will be vaccinating people on Thursday and Friday in Jamul at the Jamul Intermediate School. Then crews will head to Ramona High School over the week. These are not walk-up sites — people must book appointments ahead of time.


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Matt Hoffman

General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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