Stockton Arena finally opens as mass vaccination site after delay

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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Though vaccination sites are not hard to find in big California cities, vaccine appointments can still be hard to come by.

“I went to Walgreens and they said I wasn’t on their list, and I had an appointment,” said Frances Madrigal. “Then I went to another pharmacy and they wouldn’t take me because I didn’t have insurance or social security, and I told them I’d pay cash and they wouldn’t accept me. And then this came up.”

Turns out, the third try was lucky for Madrigal in more ways than one. She told FOX40 she really does not like shots and Wednesday she was able to get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

About 1,500 others were scheduled for the one-shot J&J vaccine at the Stockton Arena Wednesday. 

The new mega site is supposed to have a capacity of 5,000 shots per day, seven days a week. But lack of supply pushed opening day back a week and continues to be an issue. 

However, Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom predicted an “abundance” of vaccine doses were headed for California.

“Based on the governor’s message yesterday, there’s hope that vaccines will continue to come, but we will deal with it as it comes,” said Issa Fakhouri, the lead physician at the mega site. “Hopefully, we won’t have to pause.”

Fakhouri said they’re equipped to give out whichever of the three U.S.-approved vaccines the state chooses to send their way on any given week.

“The equitable care is not necessarily happening in areas like this,” Fakhouri explained. “So this mega center is really an avenue for people to get vaccinated who may or may not have health insurance.”

The clinic currently follows state guidelines and is open to those 50 and older or who work in select frontline industries, regardless of where they normally go for their health care needs.

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