Clinics begin offering H1N1 vaccinations

The lines were long but not unbearable this afternoon at city clinics offering swine flu vaccinations to at-risk San Franciscans.

The Department of Public Health opened nine vaccination clinics citywide after receiving the largest shipment of swine flu doses to date this week.

The 28,000 doses are being doled out to at-risk residents, including pregnant women, anyone from 6 months to 24 years of age, health care and emergency responders and adults between 25 and 64 with medical conditions that put them at risk for life-threatening illnesses.

The clinics opened at 4 p.m., but long lines formed in front of them well before then. Folks showed up at the St. Anthony’s clinic on Golden Gate Street more than an hour before the clinic opened, said communications director Barry Stenger.

About 100 people were waiting in front of St. Anthony’s as the doors opened.

At the Chinatown clinic, some people arrived as early as 1:30 p.m., Stenger said. Around 250 people were waiting in line in front of a clinic in the Mission District, he had heard.

Most residents were patient, but some who were turned away because they were not in an at-risk group became annoyed, said Carolina Flamenco, 31, a clinic employee.

The clinics were open for three hours tonight. They will be open again Friday between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturday between 8 a.m. and noon. 

“If there’s any vaccines left on Saturday…we will be able to provide them [to groups that weren’t considered at-risk],” she said.

Mike Bard, 58, of SoMa, showed up more than an hour early to receive his vaccine. He said he has a compromised immune system and was thankful that the doses were being provided free of charge.

“I’m just glad to get it over with,” Bard said.
 

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