SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The San Francisco Bay Area had its first COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday morning.
Healthcare workers at Zuckerberg San Francisco Hospital received shots to protect from the virus that killed over 300,000 Americans and is filling hospitals to near full capacity.
The first person in San Francisco to get the shot was Dr. Antonio Gomez. He serves as Medical Director of Critical Care Services at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
“Really I encourage you all to take it,” Dr. Antonio Gomez said.
Dr. Gomez was among five health care providers to get the first of 2000 doses. Beginning Wednesday, they hope to begin vaccinating 100 to 150 people a day.
“To anyone out there with reservations about the vaccine, it’s a safe and effective way of protecting everybody, protecting your loved ones, protecting yourself,” Dr. Gomez said.
The San Francisco hospital has 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which was just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration days ago.
The city is allocated a total of 12,675 vaccine doses from the state and federal government, which will be dedicated to acute care facilities based on healthcare worker percentage, number of COVID-19 patients in the facility and readiness to administer the vaccine, according to the city.
“This is a historic day for our city and, we hope, the start of a turning point in our response to COVID-19,” said Mayor Breed. “That said, we can’t let today’s news be cause for letting our guard down. This virus is still in our community, and we must remain just as vigilant – taking care to stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings, keep our distance, wash our hands frequently, and avoid gatherings.”
Excitement about the vaccine was tempered with a word of warning.
“There will not be enough quantities of vaccine to protect us as a community to protect us from the current surge,” Dr. Grant Colfax said.
San Francisco health director Dr. Grant Colfax says that means the only way to beat back the surge in cases and hospitalizations is by social distancing, not traveling over the holidays, and wearing those masks, even if you are one of the lucky ones to get this initial dose of vaccine.
“Even though we know the vaccine has remarkable protective effects after the second dose we don’t know whether the vaccine keeps people from transmitting the virus so it’s important even if people receive the vaccine they keep up with the masking and social distancing practices,” Dr. Colfax said.
Each person needs two doses of the vaccine — one dose now, and another about a month after. This means while the hospital has 2,000 doses, there will be 1,000 people actually getting vaccinated.
The first vaccines in California and in the entire United States were administered on Monday.
Doctors, nurses and other frontline workers are first in line for the limited initial vaccines.