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Why hasn’t San Francisco opened a mass vaccine site?



Los Angeles County opens a COVID-19 location at Dodger Stadium on Friday, while Orange County began managing shots at a Disneyland parking lot this week.

In the Bay Area, Sonoma County partnered with Safeway to offer inoculations at the Santa Rosa amusement park.

When does San Francisco open a mass vaccine site?

San Francisco District 6 Superintendent Matt Haney is asking this question and urging the city to speed up its process of identifying locations for vaccine deployment.

“Obviously, we should have a mass distribution point in San Francisco, like almost every other major county in the state, and we should actually have many of them,” Haney wrote in an email. “But the bigger concern is that the department does not have a commitment or a plan for widespread distribution and does not provide basic levels of communication, transparency and coordination. All of this needs to change immediately.

“My constituents feel completely in the dark with no response from our public health department.”

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SF’s health director Dr. Grant Colfax said in a press release on Tuesday that the city appears to be working with health care providers such as Kaiser and Sutter CMPC to scale up distribution by opening large-scale vaccination centers in civic locations.

“Because the federal and state governments distribute vaccines directly to healthcare providers, these partnerships are definitely the key to our success as a city,” Colfax said. “The COVID Command Center works with healthcare providers to stand up for large vaccination sites where providers can effectively serve their patients.”

Colfax could not provide a location or date for the opening of a site, but said it would be up and running when there is sufficient supply to meet the need for a location designed to serve a large number of people.

“Our goal is to open such sites as soon as possible when the state provides us with more vaccine. We really need to get more doses and move through the different phases of the state levels to reach the goal of a vaccine site, as to get as many people vaccinated as possible, “Colfax said, referring to the vaccine prioritization phases set by the state. The first group is Phase 1a, which includes healthcare professionals and residents of qualified care centers, and the city is still completing this phase while moves on to Phase 1b, which includes seniors.

The search for vaccination sites is focused on neighborhoods with the most vulnerable communities, and the city will also partner with community groups such as the Latino Task Force and the UCSF to offer community vaccinations and health clinics.

Of the city’s 925,000 residents, over 95% are covered by some form of private or public health insurance: 675,000 have private insurance, 64,000 have Medicare and 179,000 have Medicaid coverage, and 179,000 have Medicaid coverage, according to the SF Department of Public Health.

This leaves a small number of residents who do not have insurance who need vaccination, Colfax said, and the department’s priority is to vaccinate those who are uninsured or underserved by the health care system.

“We work to ensure that vulnerable populations and those who do not have access to private health care, as well as those in the most affected communities, are given priority for vaccines,” he said.




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