San Francisco didn’t run out of the COVID vaccine after all

San Francisco is on its way toward an ambitious plan to get everyone who wants to be vaccinated their doses by the end of June. City leaders are saying it's going to take an unprecedented level of cooperation between the public and private health care providers to get this done.

Despite concerns the city would run out of vaccine by Thursday, San Francisco received word late Wednesday that the state would be lifting the pause it had put in place on administering the Moderna vaccine. Lifting that pause allowed the city to access some 8,000 doses which will allow the city to continue to administer vaccine at least for now.

San Francisco has set a lofty goal  to get everyone who wants their shots by June 30th. That's as many as 900,000 people.

Dr. Andrea Tenner from San Francisco's Department of Public Health said it's a logistical challenge the city is working hard to meet.

City and health care leaders said the only thing holding them back should be vaccine supplies from the state and federal governments.

"It's the biggest vaccine rollout in history, this is something no one's ever done before and we are working together very closely to manage this as it comes," said Dr. Tenner. "But, I think our biggest problem right now is the supply of vaccine."

Those vaccine doses include the city's adults, not children. "So, it's not actually approved for younger than 16 yet," said Dr. Tenner. "Those studies are, we're anticipating those studies, it's just, we don't have the data right now."

District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney held a hearing Wednesday aimed at clarifying where San Francisco stands when it comes to vaccine distribution. The goal to vaccinate the city by the end of June came out at that meeting.

"It was exciting for a lot of us to hear that because is shows really a level of commitment and what is beginning to demonstrate a comprehensive enough plan to deliver that many vaccines," said Supervisor Haney.

The city is also under a new health order requiring large health care providers in San Francisco to submit written plans for vaccine distribution by February 1st. The Department of Public Health said it's working hard to firm up the public-private partnership which will be critical going forward.

"This is a city-wide, all hands on deck effort," said Dr. Tenner. "So, all of the health care systems have been partnering with the city, with the Department of Public Health in an effort to try to staff up these sites to pool resources to try to get this vaccine out as quickly as we can."

The city said it cannot be in the business of making sure that only San Franciscans receive those doses, that there are people who work in the city, but live elsewhere who need to be immunized.

Health leaders are saying at this point the goal needs to be getting as many doses into as many arms as quickly as possible.

"We're so focused on San Franciscans get vaccinated, but making sure that everyone in the Bay Area gets vaccinated because that is a huge proportion," said Dr. Tenner. "We're all so interconnected."

San Francisco also unveiled its "get notified when your're eligible for the COVID vaccine" system, health and city leaders are asking San Franciscans to sign up so they know when, where and how to get their vaccine.

"Stay home if you can," said Supervisor Haney. "Don't gather. Wear a mask and also sign up for the vaccine notification system. Tell us what is working and what is not working."

The city is also preparing to launch the first mass vaccination site at City College of San Francisco on Friday, but they say people cannot simply show up. They have 500 doses of vaccine ready to go, and 500 people have already been signed up to receive those doses.