Bay Area ramps up mass vaccination sites

Mass vaccinations are gaining traction, as multiple Bay Area communities step up their shots.

From Antioch to Mountain View, San Francisco to St. Helena, providers are ready and raring to go, as long as unreliable supplies hold out.

"It's a giant jigsaw puzzle every day," said Glen Newhart, President and CEO of the St. Helena Hospital Foundation.

Friday at Napa Valley College's St. Helena campus, some 300 teachers were vaccinated, continuing a community effort that began 9 days ago.  

All told, 3400 people have rolled up their sleeves to be innoculated against COVID19. 

"We're here to say this can be done and we can do this well," said Newhart, "and this is the first small step on the road to whatever the new normal is."

The teachers came from communities north of Yountville, mostly St. Helena, Calistoga, Pope Valley and Angwin.

The shots were accompanied by smiles and jokes, whoops and high spirits.

"You got the Moderna vaccine, so we'll see you in 28 days," said one nurse to a recipient.

"28 days from now we'll see an even more joyous experience," said Newhart, "and I think a lot of teachers thought this wouldn't happen, that  they had been forgotten."

But deliveries of vaccine are so erratic, everyone must remain nimble.

"The FedEx truck pulled in and I shot off a text to several more of the schools," said Newhart, "and said hey we're on, get your people here, let's do this!"

Size also matters.

San Francisco, the second most dense city in the nation, launched a vaccination drive-through at SF City College on Friday.

It was immediately swamped, even with 10 lanes of cars, and shots by appointment only.

"I am like feeling wonderful, this is fabulous," said one man, expressing joy and relief as he pulled away.

The site is for San Francisco residents age 65 and older, and more locations are slated for the Bayview District and Moscone Center.

"We are still looking for your understanding and your patience," said Mayor London Breed, touring the site.

500 appointments were available the first day, due to the amount of vaccine available.

"We don't always know what we're getting and we are clearly not getting enough," lamented Breed.

Despite short supplies, she has set a goal of all 900,000 eligible city residents vaccinated by the end of June.

"As soon as we have these vaccines in our possession our goal is to get them out the door," said Breed, "and this is a great day."

In Napa County, organizers share that drive to make every drop count.

"We never end the day with an extra dose, we shoot every single thing, we are a zero waste site and we will stay here until the last dose is gone," declared Newhart. 

Among those getting vaccinated: Calistoga's school superintendent and two married teachers, who are in Montessori middle-school classrooms for in-person learning.

"Ultimately for me it was about the community and your neighbors," said Jennifer Heil, "and it's about not spreading the virus to those who are vulnerable."

Added husband Alexander, "I'd say our biggest concern has been the families of the children we serve, their grandparents and not wanting t expose them.

At St. Helena Hospital, the unofficial motto: "Be first to the herd."

Newhart recalls how a 99 year old woman came to one of the clinics.

"And she just had tears run down her cheeks, so happy she wasn't forgotten."

Debora Villalon is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Debora at and follow her on Twitter @DeboraKTVU.