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San Francisco Mandates Vaccine Reporting As Supply Runs Low

  • 28,000 San Francisco residents, or roughly 3.3% of the population, had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine as of Tuesday, according to figures from the California Department of Public Health

  • Vaccine supply, which is limited and allocated by the federal government and the state, has been "inconsistent and unpredictable" according to SF Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax

  • San Francisco's health department received only 1,775 doses last week, and remaining supply is due to run out on Thursday

  • City officials issued an order to private health care providers to provide detailed data to the City on local vaccinations

Amid a shortage of vaccine supply, San Francisco issued an order on Tuesday ordering private health care providers to report detailed, local vaccination data.

The City also launched a public dashboard that will track local vaccinations, but officials reiterated that the speed of the rollout will heavily depend on actions by the state of California, the federal government and manufacturers.

Just over 28,000 San Francisco residents, or 3.3% of the estimated population, had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Tuesday. That figure is sourced from California's Immunization Registry, a division of the California Department of Public Health, and includes vaccines administered by private and public providers.

However, each dose in San Francisco that has yet to be administered has already been earmarked for individuals in the highest-priority vaccination group, dubbed 1A. That group includes health care workers and residents at assisted living facilities, and was recently expanded to include individuals aged 65 and up.

In San Francisco, a city with a high proportion of health care workers and 110,000 residents over 65, the highest-priority vaccination group comprises about 210,000 people total. Vaccine allocations to San Francisco have been spotty and unpredictable so far, making it difficult to forecast when the general public will be vaccinated, said SF Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax.

"The inconsistent and unpredictable flow of vaccine from the state, and directly at the feet of the Feds, is not only impacting DPH but our city healthcare providers as well," Colfax said.

Colfax said that DPH was expecting 12,000 new doses of vaccine last week, but only received 1,775. In addition, one specific batch of the Moderna vaccine, amounting to 8,000 doses, has been withheld due to concerns about elevated side effects. California urged providers to cease giving doses from that Moderna batch until the side effects are investigated.

San Francisco's remaining vaccine supply is expected to run out on Thursday, Colfax said.

In the meantime, the City is seeking more data from private providers, including Sutter Health, Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente, on the number of people vaccinated and doses administered at their San Francisco facilities. The two vaccines currently in circulation, which are manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, both require two doses.

Mayor London Breed said on Tuesday that the City issued an order asking those providers to share more detailed vaccination data, which will give a more comprehensive look at the pace of local vaccinations.

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The City plans to set up three mass vaccination sites, at Moscone Center, City College's main campus and The SF Market in Bayview, in addition other geographically dispersed pop-up sites. Collectively, those sites will have the capacity to vaccinate 10,000 people per day once supply is available, officials said.

Breed and Colfax expressed some optimism regarding both infection rates in San Francisco and improvements to the federal government's vaccine rollout as the Biden administration takes control this week.

President-Elect Joe Biden has said that he will call on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to established 100 federally supported vaccination centers by the end of February, and may also invoke to Defense Production Act to quickly manufacture the supplies needed to administer vaccines. Biden also plans to allocate $400 billion to combating the pandemic as part of a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

"As production ramps up by manufacturers, we anticipate large deliveries in the coming weeks and months….we will be ready, along with providers, to get shots in arms," Colfax said.

New infections and hospitalizations in San Francisco have slowed in recent days, which Colfax called "relatively promising" news. The Bay Area remains subject to California's shutdown guidelines, which dictate that activities such as outdoor dining must be curtailed if intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%. The region's ICU capacity was 6% as of Jan. 15.

The City also published a website where residents can sign up to be notified when vaccines are available to people in their age group and professional sector.


Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

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