SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco Department of Public Health says their goal is to vaccinate every resident for the novel coronavirus by June 30, 2021. The news came Wednesday during a special hearing called by a city supervisor.
At the COVID-19 vaccine rollout hearing, District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney announced an emergency ordinance requiring the city to develop a mass vaccination plan, data reporting, and communications strategy.
The city's goal to vaccinate 900,000 people in San Francisco in a six-month timeline, would be achieved through mass vaccination sites and healthcare providers.
"We finally got some clear commitments today that I and others have been pushing to make happen for weeks,'' Haney said. "They also made it clear that they will finally create a centralized system for vaccine appointments and presented a timeline for the vaccine mass distribution sites. This is very positive and hopeful, and it is critical that we continue to ensure transparency, accountability and accessibility."
The first of three mass vaccination sites is scheduled to open Friday, January 22. It will be by appointment only at City College SF. The site is part of a partnership with UCSF, Dignity Health and One Medical.
Last week, city officials announced mass vaccination site plans for Moscone Center and San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market in the Bayview. Opening dates for those sites are said to be in the coming weeks.
Supervisor Haney said on Twitter, more information on who the City College site will serve and how to sign up is forthcoming.
Haney clarified the centralized site for people to make appointments at one of the mass vaccination sites, run by the public health department, is available regardless of their health insurance status.
City officials also announced it will be setting up vaccination clinics and mobile vaccination units within three weeks.
One major obstacle remains vaccine supply.
"We are starting with Friday. We've got a couple more days to get the vaccine in," UCSF Executive Vice-President Dr. Joshua Adler told the supervisors during the hearing.
Earlier this week, Mayor London Breed shared information from SF DPH that the doses of the vaccine they had received would run out by Thursday.
Haney also acknowledged how slow and frustrating the vaccine rollout has been.
"Of course, priority groups, like the elderly and essential workers should and must get their doses much sooner," Haney said on social media. He added that in order to meet their goal, the vaccinations need to come at a pace of 10,000 to 20,000 a day.
"From the feds to the state, to the local level, so far it has been a mess. We need clarity. We need answers and we need plans," said Supervisor Hillary Ronen.
According to San Francisco Health Network CEO Roland Pickens, at least 28,501 residents in the city have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine as of Tuesday.
Most of those vaccine recipients are health care workers and nursing home workers and residents, according to Pickens.
However, that figure does not include vaccinations administered by Kaiser Permanente or Sutter Health, both of which report aggregated vaccination data to the state rather than per-county figures.
Pickens said San Francisco is averaging 3,000 vaccination doses a day.
He argued that the lack of doses is due in part to multi-county health care systems like Kaiser and Sutter having to compete with each other throughout the state, especially in Southern California.
"What we have been able to see is that more of the vaccine is going to Southern California than has been coming to Northern California," he said. "That's contributing to the dearth that we have here in San Francisco."
In a move toward increased transparency, San Francisco's health officer on Tuesday issued an order that requires large health care providers in San Francisco to submit a written vaccination plan by February 1.
The plan needs to include the process and timeline in addition to reporting vaccination distribution data back to the SF Department of Public Health.
Kaiser said its vaccine supplies are low.
"Kaiser has the staff, the infrastructure, and the electronics to provide a mass vaccine program. We just don't have the vaccine supply," said Kaiser Senior Vice-president Ron Groepper.
Each health care provider gets its own vaccine from the state. The public health department also gets its own separate supply.
"If thousands of vaccines parachuted in today we could very quickly get more vaccine to people in our existing infrastructure and footprint," said Dr. Robert Nordgren of the Sutter Medical Foundation.
The city has yet to receive nearly 300,000 vaccine doses that it has been allocated to properly give everyone currently eligible for the vaccine the requisite two doses.
Wednesday's hearing was held by the Board of Supervisors Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee. Supervisors Shamann Walton, Hillary Ronen, Dean Preston, Gordon Mar, and Ahsha Safai co-sponsored the hearing.
The emergency ordinance will be introduced at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors board meeting next Tuesday, January 26th, 2021.
Bay City News contributed to this story.