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SF Opens Third Mass Vaccination Site, But Supply Challenges Remain

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

  • San Francisco opened up its third high-volume vaccination site, located at the SF Market in Bayview Hunters Point, and will administer a limited number of doses for now

  • The vaccination sites at Moscone Center and City College are temporarily closed due to a lack of vaccine supply

  • As of Feb. 17, 122,420 San Francisco residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 50% of the population over 65.

  • The Biden administration finalized a deal last week to purchase 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, and drugmakers are working to expedite manufacturing and delivery of the doses

  • California struck a deal with Blue Shield, made public Monday, that gives the insurer control over statewide administration of vaccines

San Francisco opened its third high-volume vaccination facility, located in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, but said that only a limited number of doses will be administered at the site until more supply comes in.

The site, which opened Monday at the SF Market, will initially offer vaccinations to people 65 and older and healthcare workers. As of Tuesday, 122,420 San Francisco residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 50% of the population over 65.

Supply challenges have constrained San Francisco’s high-volume sites, which are jointly operated by the SF Department of Public Health and private healthcare providers. Due to lack of supply, the City has temporarily paused vaccinations at Moscone Center and City College, the two other high-volume sites. City College will reopen on Friday for second doses only; Moscone Center is pausing operations for a few days until supply is sufficient to resume.

No appointments were canceled as a result of the temporary closures, city officials said.

“The vaccine supply coming to San Francisco’s healthcare providers and DPH is limited, inconsistent, and unpredictable,” said the City’s COVID Command Center in a statement. “SFDPH learns about our allotment of second doses on Sunday and our allotment of first doses on Tuesday night. We never know the following week's allocations, which makes it challenging to plan ahead.”

Before running low on vaccines, San Francisco was administering as many as 5,500 shots per day last week. Many of those were going to people aged 65 and up, with the percentage of those vaccinated in that group rising from 31% on Feb. 9 to 50% in about a week’s time.

Around 70% of the total doses allocated to San Francisco go to private healthcare providers, with the remainder directed to SFDPH. Those doses are partially reallocated to community clinics serving neighborhoods with disproportionately high COVID case counts.

In addition to the SF Market location, there are smaller vaccination sites located at Southeast Health Center in Bayview, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and in the Mission District at 24th and Capp Streets.

The state of California recently forged a deal with Blue Shield of California to take over statewide administration of vaccines. That contract, made public on Monday, details a plan to ramp up to 3 million shots per week by March 1 and 4 million per week by the end of April, though it's not yet clear how this change will impact vaccinate allocations to San Francisco specifically.

Blue Shield plans to use an algorithm to allocate vaccines based in part on COVID infection rates and with a "focus on equity," according to the contract.

The Biden administration finalized deals last week to purchase 100 million doses each of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the two versions already approved and in circulation. Those batches will augment the companies’ existing federal contracts to provide 200 million doses each to the federal government. Those drugmakers are aiming to expedite manufacturing and delivery of those doses with the goal of inoculating 300 million Americans by the end of July.

In addition to the City-run mass vaccination sites, Oakland Coliseum is hosting a federally-run vaccination site. CVS, Rite-Aid and other retail pharmacies are also offering vaccines through a federal partnership, though initial supply is limited.


Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

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