Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said Tuesday that The City received only a fraction of the COVID vaccine doses it requested this week. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said Tuesday that The City received only a fraction of the COVID vaccine doses it requested this week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Unpredictable supplies leave SF running low on COVID vaccine

Reported reactions to Moderna shots prompt hold on 8,000 doses

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health has paused the administration of 8,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine after allergic reactions were reported in San Diego.

Meanwhile, The City’s overall supply could run out by Thursday.

Just 28,501 San Francisco residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine, either from their health care providers or from the department, Mayor London Breed said during a Tuesday press conference.

Breed said vaccination efforts continue to “face challenges with the lack of supply.”

She warned: “Unless we get more vaccines, the Department of Public Health will run out of our existing supply by this Thursday.”

Her comments refer directly to the supply the department receives from the state and not the supply health care providers like Kaiser and University of California, San Francisco receive. The state coordinates distribution of the vaccine from the federal government.

Exacerbating The City’s supply challenges is the need to hold off using 8,000 Moderna doses, after fewer than 10 people experienced possible severe allergic reactions to the vaccine at San Diego’s Petco Park over the weekend. The state, which is investigating the cases, ordered any health care provider who received the vaccines from this specific shipment of 330,000 doses to hold off on administering them.

Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health, said that as of Tuesday, The City had not received any replacement doses.

“This will have an impact on The City’s ability to complete already scheduled vaccinations,” he said.

However, Colfax emphasized that the vaccines “are our ticket out of this pandemic and they are very safe.”

The unpredictability of vaccine distribution remains a challenge. Last week, the department received 12,000 doses.

“This week, along with health care providers across The City, we received a fraction of the doses we requested from the state,” Colfax said. “DPH’s allocation from the state arriving this week is only 1,775 doses.”

The Department of Public Health has received a total of 31,665 vaccine doses as of Tuesday, Breed said. The department has administered 15,545, which went to 12,920 people who received their first shot in the arm and 2,625 who received the required second dose. The remainder, city officials said, are scheduled for administration.

Currently, health care providers are not reporting their vaccine data to San Francisco, so the specifics are limited. However, Breed was able to report that 28,501 of San Francisco residents were vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday, of which 6,347 have received their second dose.

Breed said those vaccinated were largely health care workers, per the state guidelines.

She also said that both the department and health care providers in San Francisco, like Kaiser, Sutter, Dignity and UCSF, have received a total 102,825 doses of the vaccine since it began being distributed.

Per the state guidelines, around 210,000 people are prioritized in San Francisco to get the vaccine in the first round. They comprise about 90,000 health care workers, 11,000 in-home care workers and 110,000 people over the age of 65.

The City started Tuesday to report vaccine data to the public, adding it to other COVID-19 data such as new cases and deaths.

The Department of Public Health planned to issue a health order Tuesday to require health care providers to report to The City their vaccination data.

Breed also announced last week the planned launch of three large vaccination sites, with the first of the sites opening later this week at City College of San Francisco’s main campus.

“The vaccine is in limited supply,” Breed said. “While we still don’t have the vaccine supply to meet the needs of these sites yet, we are getting ready for when we do.”

She said “our goal is to be ready to quickly move” to vaccinate more people when supply increases and eligibility expands.

Meanwhile, city officials said COVID-19 data suggests the current surge is slackening. San Francisco remains under the state’s stay-at-home order along with the rest of the Bay Area, which was imposed as the state was experiencing its worst surge since the pandemic began.

The City is now seeing an average of 333 newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19 per day, but the growth rate is declining.

“The post-holiday rise in hospitalization appears to be slowing,” Colfax said.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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