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  • Writer's pictureCommunity Wellbeing San Diego

San Diego County Loosens Restrictions as Vaccine Eligibility and Access Expands


As San Diego County hits the 2 million mark for COVID-19 vaccine administration, there will be a shift from the most restrictive purple tier to the less restrictive red tier on Wednesday, March 17th. This change will allow for modified indoor operations of restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, and other establishments, with limited capacities.


As of Monday, March 15th, a new group of people are now eligible for the vaccine: individuals between the ages of 16-65 with high risk medical conditions and disabilities, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, pregnancy, and certain heart and lung conditions. A full list of qualifying conditions can be found on the San Diego County COVID-19 Vaccine Phases webpage. Along with this phase of vaccine distribution, known as Phase 1C, Phases 1A and 1B also have continued eligibility.


For people living or working in San Diego County, the COVID-19 vaccine is at no cost. The

FDA has approved three safe and effective vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, for emergency use authorization (EUA).

It is important to note that with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine, you are not fully

vaccinated until 2 weeks after the second shot, and you are not fully vaccinated until two weeks after the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Therefore it is essential to continue to adhere to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask in public spaces, avoiding crowds, and socially distancing by staying six-feet apart from others. Further, the vaccine does not contain the live virus, so there is no chance of becoming infected by receiving the vaccination.


Experiencing symptoms and side effects after receiving the vaccine is completely normal and asign that it is working, as your body is building protection against the virus. Side effects of the vaccine include pain, redness, and swelling at the site where the shot was administered, and tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. Symptoms can start within 1-2 days of getting the vaccine and subside within a couple of days.


If you have a healthcare provider or are enrolled with a local healthcare system, such as Sharp HealthCare, UC San Diego Health, Scripps Health, or Kaiser Permanente, you will receive a notification when you are eligible to make an appointment.

For those in eligible priority groups who do not have a healthcare provider, the County of San Diego is offering no-cost vaccines with proof of eligibility, such as a photo ID, employee or volunteer ID card, a paystub, or letter from your employer. More details of documentation

Located on the county website is an interactive map showing vaccination sites managed by SD county with links, instructions, and information for scheduling an appointment. Select

organizations and pharmacies are also providing additional vaccination options for eligible

individuals. CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, and Family Health Centers of San Diego are now offering vaccinations, with online-scheduling and information about appointment availability.

Due to high demand, there is extremely limited appointment availability. It remains critical to

protect yourself and others by socially distancing, wearing a mask, and avoiding crowded areas until you have the opportunity to get the vaccine. Even when vaccinated, it is necessary to take these precautions as well when around those who are unvaccinated.

By: Kat O’Brien




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