San Francisco health officials say time is now to get COVID booster shots

The state opened up eligibility for booster COVID vaccine shots to all Californians. With vaccination eligibility extended to children ages five and up and adults getting their booster shots, appointments are filling up.

In San Francisco, a rush is underway to get vaccine doses and booster shots to residents as quickly as possible. The city's public health department released new data that said about 18% of children ages five to 11 have received a COVID vaccine. The department also said one in three seniors over 65 years old has received their booster.

Public health officials are encouraging families to set appointments through their pediatricians for children, but are also preparing to administer vaccinations at schools around the city.

Some residents have said the process of finding booster shots is fairly easy.

"I did just actually get a booster. My experience is that the wait times are about two weeks in advance," said Jerry Young. "I looked at multiple places, the local pharmacy here, as well as CVS as well as Kaiser. I looked at all three places they all had availabilities, usually about two weeks out."

A search through the city's major pharmacies yielded the same results, about a week and a half to two-week wait for an appointment.

"I got it as soon as I could because I want to go back to substituting. I'm a retired teacher so I want to get back to the classroom," said Jean Benedict. "I went, made an appointment at CVS and it was easy peasy."

Families said they chose to protect themselves their loved ones before the holidays.

"I got my booster because I want her to have antibodies," said Rebecca Southerland, holding her five-month-old daughter. "So, if you were recently pregnant or breastfeeding, they let you sign up and so I did."

San Francisco said at this point it has no plans to reopen mass vaccination sites.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health currently sends out about a half dozen mobile vaccination clinics to high-risk areas, like senior living facilities. The city is estimating that in about a week or two they should be able to accommodate walk-ins at Department of Public Health sites as supplies increase.