San Francisco officials intend to vaccinate virtually every resident in the city by June in spite of vaccine dose supply limitations, an official with the city’s Department of Public Health said Wednesday.
According to San Francisco Health Network CEO Roland Pickens, at least 28,501 residents in the city have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine as of Tuesday.
Most of those vaccine recipients are health care workers and nursing home workers and residents, according to Pickens.
However, that figure does not include vaccinations administered by Kaiser Permanente or Sutter Health, both of which report aggregated vaccination data to the state rather than per-county figures.
Regardless, Pickens said Wednesday during a special hearing of the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee, an average of roughly 3,000 vaccine doses are being administered in San Francisco daily. The city would have to reach at least 10,000 per day to meet its June target of full vaccination.
“We’ve spent the last three months working to be ready for this moment,” Pickens said. “But also … so much is unfortunately out of our control.”
Supervisor Matt Haney called the special meeting as San Francisco prepares to open several mass vaccination sites and, once state officials give the go-ahead, vaccinate other high-risk workers like teachers and grocery and retail workers.
The first of those mass vaccination sites, at City College of San Francisco, is expected to open Friday. Vaccination sites at the Moscone Center and the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market in the Bayview are also expected to open in the coming weeks.
The city remains hampered by a dearth of vaccine doses, however, and a circuitous rollout similar to other parts of California that have received directives from the state on who to vaccinate, only to lack the doses or trained medical staff to administer them.
Pickens argued that the lack of doses is due in part to multi-county health care systems like Kaiser and Sutter having to compete with each other throughout the state, especially in Southern California.
“What we have been able to see is that more of the vaccine is going to Southern California than has been coming to Northern California,” he said. “That’s contributing to the dearth that we have here in San Francisco.”
The city has also yet to receive nearly 300,000 vaccine doses that it has been allocated to properly give everyone currently eligible for the vaccine the requisite two doses.
Pickens, the committee members and officials from multi-county health care systems all expressed optimism that President Joe Biden’s administration would hasten the manufacture and dispersal of vaccine doses, allowing the county to eventually make vaccines widely available at retail pharmacies akin to the flu vaccine.
The committee also sent a proposed emergency ordinance to the full Board of Supervisors that would require the city’s Department of Public Health to publish a full vaccination plan with information on the need for resources like staffing and storage.
“I’m glad that we are finally moving forward with these fundamental steps but these are basic information and systems that we should have had before the first dose even landed in San Francisco,” Haney said in a statement.
The full board is expected to consider the ordinance at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 26.
“We need everyone’s help,” Pickens said. “We need the full reach of our political power to do everything possible to get doses sent our way.”