Why San Francisco is pausing some COVID-19 vaccines

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The San Francisco Health Department says the COVID-19 vaccine supply has been limited, inconsistent, and unpredictable, making vaccine roll out difficult.

The Moscone Center and City College mass vaccination sites helped the county distribute 7,400 doses over the last week.

As of last week, 47 percent of the 65 and older population has been vaccinated.

“It is very disappointing. We have this large vaccine ecosystem ready to go and what’s holding us back is getting the vaccine so we can get it into arms,” Dr. Grant Colfax said. 

San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax says the mass vaccination sites and the community sites are ready to get more than 10,000 people a day vaccinated but the weekly supply is nowhere near that number and likely won’t improve until the spring.  

“We don’t have any signs of the significant improvement in the immediate horizon, especially for this site but again we are ready to go,” Colfax said.

With the virus and various variants continuing to spread across the nation and the world, infectious disease experts are calling on the federal government to do their part.

“The FDA is reviewing Johnson and Johnson’s one dose vaccine on February 26. They should move that date up. The filed 2 weeks ago we should do that as soon as possible because by definition we will have more supply,” Dr. Monica Gandhi said. 

UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi also believes the U.S. should take a note from the UK and delay second doses of Pfizer and Moderna to 12 weeks to allow more people to get their first dose.

“Getting everyone to partial immunity now can help stop the virus in its tracks and we can wait for that second dose,” Gandhi said.

The Moscone site will pause for one week and will reopen once supply is sufficient to resume operations.

The City College high volume site expects to resume on Friday only for people who need second doses.

A third high volume site will launch this week but with available appointments far below full capacity.

No existing appointments were canceled; spots are only released for booking once the vaccine supply is confirmed.

Mayor London Breed tweeted that she’s frustrated because they have shown San Francisco can administer shots as soon as they come in but the only thing holding us back, says the mayor, is a lack of supply.

San Francisco still has to vaccinate 760,000 people over the age of 16 — that’s 1.5 million doses needed.

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