San Francisco’s Department of Public Health would have to come up with a public plan within seven days to vaccinate everyone against COVID-19 upon the passage of legislation being introduced Tuesday by Supervisor Matt Haney.
Haney announced his intention to introduce the proposal last week after holding an hourslong Board of Supervisors committee hearing on the vaccination efforts of the department and health care providers.
“DPH shall submit to the Board of Supervisors a written comprehensive vaccination plan describing how it will timely and effectively contribute to the shared goal of vaccinating all people who live or work in the City, regardless of insurance, and how DPH will timely and effectively vaccinate all of the patients to whom DPH provides primary or specialty care,” the legislation reads.
The proposal requires specific elements in the plan such as how The City would partner with the San Francisco Unified School District and labor union groups to ensure they will be vaccinated expeditiously once they are eligible, including a way to pre-register.
Also within seven days, the department would be required to disclose more data, including doses by race, ethnicity, age and neighborhood.
Haney has been critical of The City’s vaccine rollout.
“There’s still massive confusion about how to get answers, who has vaccine doses, and how to access them,” Haney told the San Francisco Examiner. “There’s no public plan available and most of the data has not been made public. There’s no central portal for appointments. This law is intended to address all of those things.”
“We have to ensure access, equity and speed in the distribution to our city’s residents,” he continued. “In order to do that, we need the plan and we need the data.”
But Mayor London Breed defended The City’s efforts during a virtual press conference Monday and blamed not having vaccinated more people on the vaccine supply chain.
“We are not where I want us to be because we don’t have sufficient supply of vaccines to distribute to the public,” Breed said. “But I will guarantee you that as soon as we get them they will be out on the street in someone’s arm so we can get things rolling again.”
Breed was on hand Friday to launch The City’s first large vaccination site at City College’s main campus in partnership with UCSF. It has the capacity to vaccinate up to 3,000 a day, but has started slow due to supply issues. She said 1,600 have been administered so far. There are also plans to open up two more large sites by Feb. 1 and pop-up sites in neighborhoods most impacted by the virus.
“We want to meet people where they are,” Breed said. “As soon as we get the number of doses that we need to start to administer we will do just that.”
Breed’s mayoral spokesperson Andy Lynch said that “The City has a plan to vaccinate a minimum of 10,000 people per day once we have enough doses.”
He noted that Breed will host a livestreamed conversation Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. with Dr. Naveena Bobba and Dr. Susan Philip, both of the Department of Public Health, “about San Francisco’s vaccine distribution plan and the challenges we’re currently facing with lack of supply, as well as other questions that we’ve heard from residents.”
The vaccine supply is being received by the Department of Public Health and health care providers like Kaiser and Sutter, who administer it to persons under the state’s vaccination guidelines. The vaccine supply is ordered by the state from the federal government.
San Francisco has received about 127,000 vaccines as of Monday, Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health said. And more than 59,000 doses are estimated to have been administered.
Of the total, the health department has received 34,500 vaccines and vaccinated 23,000 people. Colfax said they expected another shipment of 10,575 this week.
“That is ready to go out the door right now,” Colfax said. “We need more vaccine.”
Haney said his proposal is expected to undergo a board committee hearing in early February. It would require at least eight votes to approve. Should the law get approved, it would require the vaccine plan within seven days after it goes into effect.