Vaccine supply remains limited, but more San Franciscans and workers are now eligible to make appointments for vaccination as they become available
SAN FRANCISCO — On Wednesday, February 24, San Francisco moved into Phase 1B, of the State’s COVID-19 vaccination prioritization plan. This move to Phase 1B expands vaccine eligibility to people who live or work in San Francisco in the following sectors: education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture. Despite this expanded eligibility, vaccine doses remain in short supply, and healthcare providers have been advised to prioritize second doses in the coming weeks. As such, appointments for first vaccine doses are limited, and people who are eligible may not be able to get appointments right away.
Phase 1B includes more than 168,000 individuals who live or work in San Francisco, in addition to the approximately 210,000 healthcare workers and people 65 and older who are already eligible. People who are eligible to be vaccinated can sign-up for an appointment as they become available at: SF.gov/getvaccinated.
“Getting people who live and work in San Francisco vaccinated as quickly as possible will help us keep our entire community safe and save lives,” said Mayor Breed. “We’ve been dealing with this pandemic for a year now, and throughout that time, our workforce has kept the City going. From the grocery store clerks, child care providers and teachers, to emergency workers and restaurant cooks and waiters, these frontline workers have showed up for all of us, and I’m glad we’re able to move forward with expanding vaccine eligibility to include them. While appointments are still very limited due to supply, we’re ready to ramp up our vaccination sites and open up appointments as we get more vaccine doses.”
In partnership with the healthcare providers in San Francisco, which are receiving the majority of the vaccine doses from the state, the City is facilitating the quick and efficient delivery of vaccines through high-volume vaccine sites, neighborhood vaccine access sites, community clinics, pharmacy partnerships, and mobile vaccination teams. This network of COVID-19 vaccination sites in San Francisco provides the capacity to vaccinate at least 10,000 people per day, pending supply.
The insufficient and inconsistent supply of COVID-19 vaccine continues to be the biggest barrier for vaccinating people quickly in San Francisco. The increase in second dose appointments puts additional strain on San Francisco’s COVID-19 vaccination network. As more people become eligible for their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and yet supply does not increase significantly, health care providers are unable to offer as many first dose appointments.
Over the last week, an average of 4,000 to 4,500 second and first vaccine doses a day have been administered in San Francisco. Although this rate of vaccinations is lower than what San Francisco is capable of, health care providers and DPH are still making good progress, with 18% of San Franciscans 16 and older having received their first dose, and are ready to ramp up vaccinations as supply increases and becomes more predictable.
“By making the COVID vaccine available to the essential workers of Phase 1B, we acknowledge those who have bravely continued to risk their safety to care for our children, patrol our streets, and stock our shelves with food throughout this pandemic,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Public Health. “And as we offer the protection of the vaccine to these individuals, many of whom are low income earners, people of color, and immigrants, we will also be advancing racial and social equity through access to the vaccine.”
In addition to expanding vaccine eligibility to people in Phase 1B, San Francisco health care providers and the Department of Public Health continue to vaccinate people 65 and older. To-date, San Francisco has vaccinated 80% of the approximately 210,000 healthcare workers and people 65 and older who are eligible under Phase 1A. 58% percent of San Franciscans 65 and older have received at least one dose.
San Francisco also remains committed to an equitable vaccination strategy, with a specific focus on reaching populations that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. To that end, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has been focused on reaching communities that have been hard-hit by the pandemic, including the Latino community and neighborhoods in the Southeast of the city. San Francisco has located high volume sites and neighborhood vaccine access sites in areas that have carried the burden of the virus, and is implementing other strategies to reach the most vulnerable populations where they are, including mobile vaccination teams.
San Francisco’s COVID-19 Command Center recently published a new vaccine dashboard that shows DPH-controlled vaccine distribution, including by age and race/ethnicity. This data includes vaccinations administered at Laguna Honda Hospital, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco Health Network clinics, as well as neighborhood vaccine access sites operated in partnership with community-based organizations. The dashboard shows that DPH’s focus on racial equity in vaccine distribution has been successful. A higher proportion of the DPH-administered vaccinations have gone to people of color than the total citywide vaccinations. For example, 16.6% of the DPH vaccine allocation has gone to the Latinx population compared with 8.8% of citywide vaccinations.
“Our workforce has been maintaining our critical infrastructure, keeping us safe and providing the vital services our city needs since Mayor Breed’s emergency declaration in February 2020,” said Carol Isen, Acting Human Resources Director. “Now that we have a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to help put an end to COVID-19, I am in full support of taking this essential step of vaccinating our emergency services workforce, for their protection and for the safety of the entire San Francisco community. I am thrilled that the employees who are essential to keeping the City’s basic life safety systems and activities will now be eligible to get the vaccine.”
“San Francisco’s emergency service workers, teachers, childcare professionals, and food service workers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is an exciting and important milestone in the fight against the virus,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director of the Department of Emergency Management. “I am especially thankful that San Francisco’s 911 dispatchers, emergency managers, police officers and the hundreds of disaster service workers at the COVID Command Center or in the field supporting operations can now have access to vaccine. Since January 2020, these dedicated public servants have answered the call of duty to perform lifesaving work in our collective fight against COVID. Starting today they will have the opportunity to be vaccinated, and protected from the virus, so they can continue serving residents and workers of the City and County of San Francisco.”
Anyone who works or lives in San Francisco can sign up for a notification when they are eligible for vaccination atSF.gov/vaccinenotify. The City will continue to provide regular updates to the public about the vaccine in San Francisco at:SF.gov/covidvaccine.
(SF Mayor’s Office Release)