By Garrett Leahy
At City College’s vaccination sites, which opened on Jan. 22, people over 65, healthcare workers, and workers in education have received the vaccine, but recent closures are limiting, or at least delaying, access.
The San Francisco Department of Health (SFDPH) announced in a press release on Feb. 14 that they would be shutting down two of the city’s three vaccination sites, and that the third at SF Market in the Bayview would be upholding their existing appointments, but at reduced capacity.
“No existing appointments were canceled; spots are only released for booking once the vaccine supply is confirmed,” the press release said.
The vaccine distribution delay comes as the federal government is pushing to get more vaccines into the hands of state governments. San Francisco officials say the high volume sites have the capacity to administer up to 10,000 vaccines daily, but lack the necessary supply.
These high-volume sites, like the one at City College, have played a key role in the rollout; vaccinations in San Francisco jumped significantly to an average of 5,500 doses a week following the opening of the City College and Moscone sites -until Feb. 14, that is.
“High volume sites are our best tool to get as many vaccines into arms as quickly as possible. At the start of the week of Feb. 5, we had vaccinated 31% of the 65 and older population, and we ended the week at the halfway mark,” said UCSF Senior Public Information Representative Elizabeth Fernandez.
As of Feb 19, however, the City College vaccination site is offering second doses only, but will also provide first doses on Feb 25. Fernandez did not say whether this would continue each week and has not responded to my inquiry regarding this by press time. Fernandez said that the City College site administered second doses to 550 people Feb. 19 and expects to provide 526 second doses on Feb. 20.
So far, the vaccination site at City College has provided 11,257 vaccinations, according to Kristen Bole, Clinical Public Affairs Director at UCSF, which is operating the site in conjunction with the SFDPH. In total, 132,145 San Franciscans have received at least one dose and 41,358 San Franciscans have received both doses.
By May or June, vaccines will be widely available according to Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the Biden administration, and will be a key factor in fully re-opening the economy. For some, their plans after COVID are simple.
“I’d like to be able to go to a restaurant, if there’s any open,” said Bernie Cookson, 78, on his post-vaccine plans after getting his first vaccine dose at City College.