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San Francisco to Expand Vaccine Eligibility This Month

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

  • Starting on Feb. 26, San Francisco will expand vaccine eligibility to workers in emergency services, education, and food and agriculture. Currently, health care workers and people aged 65 and up are eligible

  • 97,088 San Francisco residents, or roughly 13% of the population over 16, have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, according to the latest numbers

  • Vaccines remain in short supply, but City officials are optimistic that supply will ramp up considerably in the coming weeks and months

  • The federal government has increased vaccine distribution to states by 28% to 11 million doses weekly since President Biden took office, and will allocate more supplies to federally-managed community sites, as well as a network of pharmacy chains starting Feb. 11

Starting on Feb. 26, San Francisco will begin administering vaccines to an expanded group of residentsand further vaccine supplies may soon arrive in the form of federal allocations.

Newly eligible groups, which are classified as "phase 1b" under the California state guidelines for vaccine eligibility, will include emergency service workers, educators and childcare workers, and food and agriculture workers. Currently, only health care workers and people aged 65 and up are eligible.

As of Tuesday, 97,088 San Francisco residents, or roughly 13% of the population over 16, had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Roughly one-third of residents aged 65 and up have received at least one dose, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said on Tuesday.

Those vaccination figures "could be higher because some residents may be getting them in other counties," she added.

About 4,000 vaccines are administered in San Francisco every day, City officials said, many of them at recently opened mass vaccination sites. Moscone Center, which also serves as the City's COVID command center, began vaccinating residents on Friday; another large drive-through site is located at City College's main campus, in addition to smaller neighborhood sites.

The pace of vaccine distribution is particularly important in light of new, potentially more infectious COVID-19 variants that could become the dominant strains over time. COVID cases in the City have also ticked up in recent days, with a rolling average of 135 cases per day as of Tuesday. San Francisco peaked at 373 average cases per day in early January.

"Vaccines remain our ticket out, including with variants. If and when you are eligible and offered a vaccine, take it," said San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax.

Colfax said that while vaccines remain in short supplythe City's public health department is receiving between 10,000 and 11,000 vaccines per week, he saidhe expressed optimism that vaccine supply will increase "dramatically" in the coming weeks and months.

Since President Joe Biden's inauguration, the number of vaccine doses being sent to states, tribes and territories has increased 28% to according 11 million doses weekly, the White House said on Tuesday. The federal government also plans to begin shipping vaccines directly to community vaccination clinics, and recently announced a partnership with 21 pharmacy chains that will begin vaccinating eligible resident starting Feb. 11. In California, CVS and Rite Aid will participate in the partnership's initial rollout, representatives told Public Comment.

"Under this program...federal health authorities determine the allocation of doses, while state and local jurisdictions continue to define their own eligibility requirements," said Chris Savarese, a spokesperson for Rite Aid. "These allocations will supplement existing and ongoing state and local allocations."

CVS told Public Comment that its pharmacies will begin offering vaccines in San Francisco and other California cities in the coming days, having been initially allocated 81,900 total doses for statewide use.


Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

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