Mass Vaccination Site Opens At City College of San Francisco

INGLESIDE, San Francisco — San Francisco opened its first mass vaccination drive-thru site Friday at City College of San Francisco’s main campus.

The site is open for those who have an appointment.

“Our plan is to get to 10,000 vaccinations per day, and we’re ready to ramp up immediately when we receive more vaccines,” Mayor London Breed said.

On Wednesday, city supervisors held a hearing at the board’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee to discuss the city’s vaccination plan as well as the roll out of three mass vaccination sites announced by Breed last Friday.

City officials are working with UCSF, Dignity Health and One Medical in opening the City College site and will initially provide 500 doses of the vaccine to people who are eligible to receive one, which include healthcare workers who still have yet to receive a vaccine and people over the age of 65.

The Department of Emergency Management tweeted Thursday to tell residents not to visit the site unless they have an appointment scheduled.

Appointments are only open to those who receive their care from UCSF, but Roland Pickens, director of the San Francisco Health Network and leading the vaccination plans in the city, said the goal is for residents to be able to sign on a city-run site to make an appointment. 

He told supervisors that the purpose and goal of the mass vaccinations is to vaccinate everyone no matter their healthcare provider. 

City and hospital officials said at the hearing that while large-scale vaccination sites have been identified, supply of the vaccine from the state and federal government has been inadequate and unpredictable. 

“One of the key points in planning and implementing any of these mass programs is being able to know when the vaccine is coming and that has really been a struggle to date,” said Dr. Josh Adler, executive vice president of physician services at UCSF Health.

The state on Wednesday released some good news on the vaccine front allowing the use of a Moderna vaccine lot that state health officials had told local health officials to pause using as they investigated a handful of people who received the dose in San Diego, who suffered a severe allergic reaction. 

The city had received about 8,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine that were in question and are now using them. Breed said at a press conference 

There has also been confusion as to who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine. It came to a surprise to many healthcare providers in the city when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that those 65 and older were eligible to receive the vaccine earlier this month. That age group is currently under Phase 1B in the state’s vaccination prioritization plan. 

Healthcare providers, Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health and UCSF have said they are only vaccinating those over the age of 75 due to the lack of supply of the vaccine. However, the city has begun vaccinating those over the age of 65, who are part of the city’s healthcare network. 

Pickens said the city has also set a goal to vaccinate 900,000 people who live and work in the city by the end of June. 

District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, a cosponsor of the hearing Wednesday, held a community virtual meeting to discuss the opening of the City College site. There were more questions than answers from community members, including questions about when childcare providers and family caregivers can get the vaccine.

Safai said he knows there is a lot of confusion and anxiety about the distribution of the vaccine, but said what the city is doing now is preparing for when more vaccines arrive. He said planning should include community organizations involved in the process of vaccination residents.

“As we prepare for mass vaccination, our community based organizations and community based hubs need to be a part of the solution,” Safai said.

San Francisco plans to open two more vaccination sites by Feb. 1, including one at Moscone Center and at the San Francisco Market Wholesale Produce Market in the Bayview.