A bottle and syringes filled with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journa via Tribune News Service)

A bottle and syringes filled with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journa via Tribune News Service)

Vaccine eligibility expanded to people with disabilities, homeless in group shelters

San Francisco will expand vaccine eligibility Monday to people with disabilities and severe underlying health conditions as well as homeless people living in congregate settings, city officials said.

The eligibility expansion follows an update this week in the state’s vaccine eligibility guidance.

San Francisco will begin vaccinating those between the ages of 16 and 64 with disabilities or with qualifying health conditions, such as a heart condition or Type 2 diabetes.

The City will also begin to vaccinate individuals who live or work in a congregate care facility such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters, including all people experiencing homelessness who “could transition into congregate settings at a short notice.”

As eligibility expands, city officials continue to stress vaccines are in short supply.

But in his address to the nation Thursday, President Joe Biden spoke to speeding up the manufacturing of the vaccine and vowed to “have enough vaccine supply for all adults in America by the end of May.”

Biden also said he will “direct all states, tribes, and territories to make all adults, people 18 and over, eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1.”

San Francisco has vaccinated 27% of those 16 and older, according to the latest data. About 210,000 residents so ar have received their first dose of the vaccine, including 70% of those aged 65 and older, and 97,457 their second. The City has administered in the past week an average of about 5,000 vaccines per day, below its goal of at least 10,000 a day.

“Getting vaccinations to people with disabilities and who have severe underlying conditions, and people who are in congregate settings, is an important part of our efforts to save lives and protect our most vulnerable residents,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “Although supply is still not at the level we need it to be, we’re continuing to make good progress and we’ll keep doing our best to get vaccines to people as quickly and conveniently as we can.”

The City noted it has been piloting mobile efforts to vaccinate the homeless in anticipation of the expanded eligibility and plan to scale up the efforts as supply of the vaccine increases.

Those looking to access a vaccine are advised to ask their health care provider or schedule an appointment at the public sites listed on the SF.gov/getvaccinated website.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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