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San Francisco to begin vaccinating teachers, food workers

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Starting tomorrow, San Francisco will begin vaccinating teachers, those in the food and agriculture sector, and others considered under Tier 1b of the state’s vaccine prioritization plan.

However, getting an appointment will be difficult. 

Based on the current vaccine supply, the city’s COVID Command Center says first dose vaccination appointments may decrease by 80% over the next two weeks.

KRON4 spoke with a few of the lucky ones who were able to schedule an appointment for tomorrow but getting there wasn’t easy.

The grocery store owner had several family members on the computer for hours each day to eventually get an appointment.

KRON4 also spoke to a local teacher who compares this whole vaccine process to the hunger games

It’s a moment many describe as long overdue.

On Wednesday, more than 160,000 people who live and work in San Francisco will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations as the city moves into Tier 1b priority.

While this includes people working in education and childcare, food and agriculture, and emergency services, many of these folks may not get an appointment for weeks.

“This is what’s so stressful as an educator. If you’re hearing over and over, elected officials saying that you need to get back into the classroom. You need to do this, you know hearing news that we’re going to be vaccinated. You would assume that there would be a plan to get educators in line as quickly as possible. In and out,” Frank Lara said.

Frank Lara is a teacher at Buena Vista Horace Mann, a K-8 school in the Mission District. 

He says scheduling an appointment was near impossible and while he was lucky enough to find an opening. He says some of his colleagues weren’t as lucky.

“It really feels like the hunger games of vaccines for educators, no kidding,” Lara said.

Lillian Abuyaghi who owns Avenue Fine Food Market on Pacific Avenue with her husband shares a similar experience.

“It was extremely hard. Many hours being on the computer, phone calls, trying many different sites. It was a big challenge for all the family members who helped us to get the appointment,” Abuyaghi said.

According to the city’s COVID Command Center, getting a first dose appointment will likely become more difficult. 

Over the next two weeks, they say first dose vaccinations may decrease by 80% in order to administer second doses to more than 90,000 people within the recommended timeframe.

This possible cut in vaccinations doesn’t include the federal allocation to pharmacies like Walgreens, where Abuyaghi will receive her first dose of the vaccine on Wednesday.

“Being an essential worker my husband and I are always at risk because so many people come in. We don’t know what they’re carrying and this and that so it’s a big deal for us to be protected and protect others,” Abuyaghi said.

While the city has the infrastructure to vaccinate more than 10,000 people per day, supply continues to be the main issue here.

Right now, the city and private providers like Kaiser and UCSF are administering around 4,000 and will likely stay at this rate with preference given to second doses before adding new appointments.

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