SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's first mass-vaccination site is now open. The first of 500 people with appointments at the site received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday and described a sense of happiness and relief.
"I am feeling wonderful, this is fabulous," said San Francisco resident Jim Stephens, who signed up for one of the first appointments at the site, at 8:30 a.m. "There's real hope. We've ended a period of darkness, and we're moving into a period of light."
The drive-through vaccination clinic at San Francisco City College was organized by San Francisco City leaders, the Department of Public Health, UCSF, Dignity health and One Medical Group.
"Everybody was helpful, I'm very grateful to everyone," said a 78-year-old recipient who identified himself only as Wilson.
For now, only health care workers and people 75 and older are eligible.
Vaccine recipients said they were invited to sign up for the clinic through text and email invitations from their health care providers.
The City College vaccination site will operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday by appointment only. The hours for the week of Jan. 25 will be determined based on vaccine supply.
The goal is to ramp up operations at the City College parking lot site to vaccinate up to 3,000 people per day.
San Francisco city leaders set a goal of vaccinating all city residents by the end of June, approximately 900,000 people.
"San Francisco has a plan and we are ready to distribute 10,000 doses per day once we have enough vaccine," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. "To fully deliver this plan, we need more vaccine and we will continue to do everything we can to be ready when our supply of vaccine does increase."
Supervisors and leaders in the medical community have said the biggest challenge to getting more shots in peoples' arms, is the supply of vaccine doses. The hope is that the back-log of supply will improve, now that the federal government is taking a more active role in distributing the vaccine.
There are more than 210,000 people in San Francisco who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in the first phase (Phase 1A) and people 65 and older.
Each person must receive two doses; therefore, San Francisco health care providers need at least 420,000 doses to complete Phase 1A and vaccinate people 65 and older.
As of Wednesday, the Department of Public Health and private health care providers have received only a quarter of those doses.