San Francisco is now giving vaccination access to teachers, childcare workers, first responders including police, and restaurant and grocery store employees. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>

San Francisco is now giving vaccination access to teachers, childcare workers, first responders including police, and restaurant and grocery store employees. (Courtesy photo)

SF expands vaccine eligiblity, but appointments ‘limited’

San Francisco expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday but appointments remain limited due to a short supply of the vaccine, city officials said.

The City has officially moved into Phase 1B under the state’s vaccination priority plan, giving access to teachers, childcare workers, first responders like police, and restaurant and grocery store employees.

“Despite this expanded eligibility, vaccine doses remain in short supply, and health care providers have been advised to prioritize second doses in the coming weeks,” city officials said. “As such, appointments for first vaccine doses are limited, and people who are eligible may not be able to get appointments right away.”

There are more than 168,000 individuals who live or work in San Francisco in the Phase 1B category. Another 210,000 health care workers and people 65 and older were already eligible to receive the vaccine.

“I’m glad we’re able to move forward with expanding vaccine eligibility to include them,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “While appointments are still very limited due to supply, we’re ready to ramp up our vaccination sites and open up appointments as we get more vaccine doses.”

In the past week an average of 4,000 to 4,500 vaccine doses were administered daily in San Francisco, city officials said, although there is capacity to administer more than 10,000 if there is more supply.

The short supply prompted The City to shut down two mass vaccination sites last week including Moscone Center. Moscone Center is expected to reopen Thursday, while the City College mass vaccination site has reopened for second doses only.

More than 140,000 San Francisco residents have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, or 18 percent of the 764,514 residents over the age of 16. More than half of residents aged 65 and older, 58 percent, have received at least their first dose, city officials said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that the state is “averaging just shy of about 200,000 doses every single day.”

“The only constraint is manufactured supply,” Newsom said. “We are not getting enough into the state of California.”

But he said supply is increasing, with the state expecting the delivery of 1.4 million doses by the end of this week and 1.52 million by the end of next week.

Meanwhile, the number of new COVID-19 cases is declining throughout California and more counties are moving out of the state’s most restrictive purple tier. San Francisco is expected to move from purple to red next week, permitting The City to allow more business operations and activities.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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