SAN DIEGO – A day after Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled out plans for a new COVID-19 vaccine incentive program, people in downtown San Diego started showing up to get their dose.
They had the option Friday of stopping by a new pop-up location at the 12th and Imperial Transit Center, the busiest metro transit intersection in the county.
“We like to go where the people will go,” said Ryan Clabo, the testing project manager for the county. “The hope is anyone riding the trolley, anyone walking by might just see us out here and know we offer free vaccines.”
The program announced Thursday means San Diegans who get vaccinated against the virus will be able to participate in the state’s drawing to distribute $116.5 million in prizes. The state will include all names in the San Diego Immunization Registry in its drawing.
Two million Californians who have not gotten vaccinated will be eligible to get a $50 gift card if they get vaccinated by June 15. The $100 million in gift cards will be distributed when they are fully vaccinated. The names of people who are fully vaccinated will be entered into a drawing June 4 and June 11. Fifteen people will each win $50,000 on each date.
On June 15, the state will draw 10 winners to each receive $1.5 million for a total of $15 million.
As of Friday, 53.8% of county residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated and 68.8% have at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines
The county’s goal is to fully vaccinate 75% of the population, or 2,101,936 people.
“I don’t know why there’s hesitance to get the shot,” said Jason Saldana, who hopped off the trolley Friday and saw the signs for free vaccine. Hesitant at first, he walked by but then double backed and reconsidered.
“There’s some kind of relief,” he said of getting the vaccine. “I don’t know why I was scared.”
A total of 1,508,626 San Diego County residents are fully inoculated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, officials report, 71.8% of the goal. Additionally, more than 1.9 million county residents have received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 91.8% of that goal.
Nearly 4.1 million doses have been received by the county, with more than 3.63 million administered.
A full list of available vaccination sites can be found. More details on the vaccine incentive program are available .