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San Francisco wants to vaccinate all eligible residents by June. But there’s still a long way to go – San Francisco Chronicle

By

Jan 21, 2021

San Francisco officials said Wednesday that they hope all eligible residents will be vaccinated by June 30, but meeting that goal will require a massive increase in daily vaccination numbers and a huge jump in available supply.

“The chief obstacle is there’s not enough doses,” Roland Pickens, CEO of the San Francisco Health Network, which is the public health care system for the city, said at a Wednesday Board of Supervisors hearing. “We acknowledge that the process has been slow and frustrating for all of us.”

As of Monday, only 3.4% of San Francisco’s population had received one dose of the vaccine. That equates to 29,599 people, most of whom are health care workers. Meanwhile, only 0.7% of the population — or, 6,483 people — have received a second dose.

There are about 870,000 total residents in San Francisco, but it’s unlikely children will be eligible by June. Currently, people must be at least 16 years old to receive a vaccine.

County officials around California have complained that the state and federal government has provided an insufficient and unpredictable vaccine supply. That has made it hard to plan how many appointments can be made on a given day, and how much staff is needed to administer the shots.

The public health department and private health care providers are currently vaccinating about 3,000 people a day in San Francisco, Pickens said. In order to meet the city’s goal of vaccinating everyone by June, San Francisco needs to ramp up to giving at least 10,000 shots a day, he said.

“If we are successful, we need to have an unprecedented level of collaboration,” Pickens said. “This is a herculean effort.”

On Friday, the public health department and private providers — including UCSF, Kaiser and Sutter — will help open the city’s first mass vaccination at City College on Ocean Avenue near Interstate 280.

Those who are eligible for a vaccine, such as health care workers and those 75 and older, will be contacted by their provider and invited to the site. Eventually, Pickens said, there will be a centralized website where all San Francisco residents can make an appointment, regardless of who their health care provider is.

The city also plans to have two other mass vaccination sites — at Moscone Center in SoMa and the The SF Market, a wholesale produce site in the Bayview— up and running by Feb. 1.

San Francisco’s public health department said Wednesday that it will have exhausted its current vaccine supply by Thursday. That means the county cannot make any new appointments at its clinics until it learns how many doses the state will allocate next week. Private providers might still have their own supply.

Four major health care providers in San Francisco — UCSF, Kaiser, Sutter and Dignity Health — said they have the staff and infrastructure to administer doses, but are hampered by an anemic vaccine supply. Representatives for each provider spoke at a hearing Wednesday, which was called by Supervisor Matt Haney.

Each provider said they don’t have enough shots to begin vaccinating those who are 65 and older, despite the federal government saying last week that population was eligible.

“A key challenge will be access to sufficient and predictable vaccine supply,” UCSF’s Dr. Josh Adler said at the hearing. “One of the key points is being able to know when the vaccine is coming, and that has really been a struggle to date.”

Adler said UCSF has received 32,630 doses, and administered 22,873 vaccine shots as of Tuesday. That accounts for 18,653 first doses, and 4,220 second doses.

Ron Groepper, senior vice president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, said his hospitals have used 93% of their vaccine allocation from the state. That has prevented them from even starting vaccinations for patients over the age of 75.

“Right now, vaccines are in incredibly short supply for all of our distributors,” he said Wednesday. He added that Kaiser is still focusing on vaccinating both its regular and contract frontline COVID-19 workers, with 170,000 shots delivered so far.

He said Kaiser received only 20,000 new doses last week, a fraction of what it needs to meet demand.

“At the current rate, we are looking at vaccine distribution that is much slower than any of us consider acceptable,” Groepper said

Chronicle staff writing Aidin Vaziri contributed to this report.

Trisha Thadani is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: tthadani@sfchronicle.com

 

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