News Release

01.07.2021 | News Release

 This morning, the SANDAG Board of Directors — mayors, city councilmembers, county supervisors, and agency leaders from around the region — received an update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution from San Diego County public health officials.

County Director of the Health and Human Services Agency, Nick Macchione, Chief and Medical Director Dr. Ankita Kadakia, M.D., Vaccine Operations Branch Director Jennifer Bransford-Koons, and San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. outlined to the Board the steps the County has taken and will take to ensure that the region’s residents receive the vaccine in an orderly and timely manner.

The meeting was called at the request of the new SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who told county leaders that mayors and their cities are ready and willing to help in the distribution of the vaccine in any way they are needed.

Chair Blakespear highlighted the unique opportunity for the Board to discuss this issue.

“Today's discussion helped local leaders from all over the region focus on what we can do to help get this vaccine distributed as quickly as possible, in an efficient and equitable way,” said Blakespear.

County Supervisor Nora Vargas, who introduced the county medical and health leaders, echoed the importance of a unified, regional approach.
“Now, more than ever, we need to be able to work together as local jurisdictions to ensure that our communities understand where we are with the pandemic,” said Vargas.

County public health officials shared updates on the region’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy and schedule, highlighting three focus areas for the County’s efforts:

• finding creative ways to expand the vaccination workforce;
• exploring the data collected about the impact of COVID-19 cases in different areas;
• and conducting community outreach.

'We know we need to be in all parts of our County,” said Macchione. “We also know, looking at the data, and using a health equity lens, there are parts of our County being very heavily impacted in South Bay, and so, we're trying to ramp up appropriately where the vaccinations sites are in South Bay, throughout City of San Diego, and all of San Diego, including our backcountry areas.”

The discussion centered around the need for urgency and speeding up vaccine distribution. Several Board members expressed interest and readiness to dedicate resources to help the regional effort.

“This is extremely important for the ability for us to reopen our economy, and get our kids back to school,” said SANDAG Board Member and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “Please do your part, in addition to following the public health order, and get vaccinated when you're able.”
Since the pandemic began, SANDAG has released several reports that analyze how COVID-19 has affected public safety, freeway travel, transit ridership, and bike riding in the San Diego region.

For media inquiries, please contact Stacy Garcia at 619.699.1950 or