The city and its major healthcare providers today committed to inoculating every San Francisco resident with a Covid-19 vaccine by June 30.

That ambitious goal came during a hearing on Wednesday called by District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney, amid complaints that the city has lagged behind other municipalities in rolling out mass vaccinations. 

So far, San Francisco healthcare providers, including both private providers and the Department of Public Health, have administered at least 45,206 Covid-19 vaccine injections as of Tuesday, according to data presented by Roland Pickens, director of the San Francisco Health Network, who was speaking as a member of the city’s Covid Command Center. That is 35.5 percent of the 127,000 vaccine doses San Francisco has received from the state.

The 127,000 figure also includes thousands of Moderna vaccine doses that are currently being withheld, after the batch they came in yielded a higher than average rate of severe allergic reactions. 

Prompted by what he called an obvious mess with a lack of communication, District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney arranged today’s hearing on the city’s vaccine rollout to clarify plans for mass vaccinations in the future and receive updates from healthcare providers. 

“Incredible and unacceptable how few answers our residents are being given right now. It really does seem that other counties, states, cities have been able to provide a lot more information and clarity, and mass distribution,” Haney tweeted on Jan. 11, the day before calling for the hearing.

Pickens added that around 200,000 San Franciscans — healthcare workers and residents older than 65 —currently qualify for vaccination under state guidelines. This means San Francisco would need to administer 400,000 vaccine doses before moving on to other priority groups. 

Because California sends vaccines directly to healthcare providers, San Francisco had, until recently, been unable to say how many residents had been vaccinated. Now, the city has implemented an online vaccine dashboard with data that is updated daily. 

Representatives from several healthcare providers attended the hearing to speak about their vaccination efforts, with ranging specificity. 

Of the 31,655 vaccines the Department of Public Health has received, it has administered just under half, according to Pickens. The remainder of the city’s supply has already been allocated, and San Francisco’s private larder could reportedly run out as soon as tomorrow.

UCSF has received 32,630 vaccine doses, more than two-thirds of which are Moderna doses, and administered 22,873, according to chief clinical officer Josh Adler. Of those, 18,653 were first doses and 4,220 were second doses. Adler added that 8,400 of UCSF’s Moderna vaccines are a part of the aforementioned temporarily unusable batch. 

Ron Groepper, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente, said that Kaiser had received 170,000 doses for California as a whole as of Jan. 16, but did not share data specific to San Francisco. 

Rob Nordgren, area CEO for Sutter Health, said Sutter had given 7,500 doses to healthcare workers and 1,000 to patients. Dignity Health has received 6,125 vaccines and administered 2,860, primarily to healthcare workers, according to St. Francis Memorial Hospital CEO Daryn Kumar. 

While California guidelines currently allow residents 65 and older to be vaccinated, representatives from UCSF, Kaiser and Sutter said they are not currently vaccinating residents under 75 who aren’t healthcare workers due to a lack of supply. 

Haney asked presenters why San Francisco seemed to be getting so few vaccines. 

Pickens explained that San Francisco hospitals belong to larger multi-county entities, and must therefore rely on their central offices to supply vaccines. UCSF, for example, is part of the larger University of California system. So the office of the president of the UC system requests vaccines for all UC campuses, then divides it among individual campuses. 

“Our hospitals in San Francisco are competing with them, and we’re losing that battle,” Pickens said. 

Presenters also shared updates on plans to establish mass vaccination sites throughout the city, similar to those set up in other cities like Los Angeles and New York City. 

The first of these sites, a drive-through site at City College of San Francisco, could be operational by Friday, according to several presenters.

But, due to the city’s current lack of supply, private healthcare providers UCSF, Dignity Health and One Medical will be providing the vaccines, meaning only residents insured by those providers will be able to schedule appointments at the site for now. 

When Supervisor Ahsha Safai asked when residents will be able to, regardless of insurer, schedule an appointment at mass vaccination sites in town, city officials did not offer a direct estimate. 

Pickens said that two other mass vaccination sites could be going up at Moscone Center and San Francisco Wholesale Produce in Bayview within three weeks, but did not offer many details on the sites.

The Department of Public Health and private healthcare providers have committed to a shared goal of consistently vaccinating 10,000 residents per day, Pickens said, but so far the city has not exceeded 3,000 vaccinations in a single day, according to data from the vaccination dashboard. 

The major hang-up, expressed by presenter after presenter, was limited and inconsistent vaccine supply. 

Following the hearing, Haney expressed optimism, and praised the presenters for “providing facts and timelines” that had, previously, been only conjectural. 

“Many things we’ve been pushing for for the past few weeks, and there were no commitments to do, we now have commitments,” he said. “The private healthcare providers are all committed to sharing data. There are now timelines on mass vaccination sites, including one opening on Friday. And there’s commitment to a goal of when we can vaccinate everyone in the city and a daily goal. This is good.” 

Juan Carlos Lara

Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at...

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5 Comments

  1. I called Kaiser and got transferred to a general vaccine department in Dever. They have no information. They also stated that Kaiser did not have a plan for helping businesses coordinate vaccinations for employees in the 1B tier. I was advised to email my doctor directly (I felt like they were blowing me off).

    My San Francisco Kaiser doctor, when asked about supplies, replied, “No, I cannot send you data regarding our vaccine supply. Our demand is extremely high right now and we are vaccinating as many people as possible.”

  2. Kaiser sent a message on Friday, January 15th that they were vaccinating people over 75 years old and over. The message said that to call to set up an appointment. I didn’t see the message until late in the day. I called on tried to call on Tuesday, January 19th because Monday was MLD day and they were not taking calls. When I called on Tuesday the message now said that they were not vaccinating people 75 and over. NOt sure what changed over those few days that they are now not taking appointments for those 75 and over. No explanation was given why the change was made. So, now I have not idea when I will be able to call to try to set up an appointment for a vaccination.

  3. Sutter Health is only scheduling vaccine appointments for health care providers and those 75 and older. So San Francisco City and County saying that I’m eligible (at age 69) does me absolutely no good.

  4. Why are all the vaccination sites South of Market? Those of us in Chinatown and Nob Hill can’t trek over there easily. Thanks for the explanation of why SF hospitals can’t get the vaccine. These so-called “non-profit” corporations need to figure out a better way to allocate vaccines.

  5. It took a progressive supervisor, Matt Haney, to see the crying need for communication on and coordination of vaccine distribution and to call a meeting of all the relevant entities, getting pledges from them on centralized data sharing and transparency about the vaccination process. Notably absent from this effort were Grant Colfax “Director” of Public Health and “Mayor” London Breed, who were, as usual not doing their jobs.

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