San Francisco, CA — The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) announced today that with federal and state approvals and recommendations, the COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children ages 6 months to 4 years.
Most families and caregivers will be able to access vaccines for this age group through their health system providers, pediatricians, and select pharmacies; individual providers will begin outreaching to their patients directly to book appointments. Major health systems such as Kaiser, UCSF, Dignity and Sutter Health will be opening appointments starting today and information can be found at myturn.ca.gov and sfgov/getvaccinated.
To ensure equitable access to vaccines, SFDPH will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to families who need them at SFDPH-operated and neighborhood sites, including the San Francisco Health Network (SFHN) and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) starting Wednesday. For a list of vaccine sites, go to: sf.gov/getvaccinated.
“We are excited to be closing the last remaining gap in vaccinations for children under 5,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “This is an important moment for the nearly 40,000 eligible children in San Francisco who can now receive the best defense against the virus and protect family members and other who may be medically vulnerable. Families and caregivers should consider the COVID-19 vaccine as an opportunity to connect to their pediatrician or provider and seek one-on-one medical guidance about this vaccine, as well as other health needs a child may have, including getting up to date on all needed immunizations.”
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved for this age group in a low-dose formulation; they are a three-dose series and a two-dose series, respectively.
SFDPH has received an initial shipment of 12,800 vaccines distributed through San Francisco Health Network (SFHN) to existing patients and those currently without a healthcare provider. This number of does not include doses shipments to major health systems, pharmacies, and community clinics.
Certain pharmacies will also offer vaccines as part of this eligibility expansion although the ages that they are approved for vary depending on the site; most pharmacies will serve children 3 years or older. Appointments can be booked directly with the major pharmacies through their websites or via sf.gov/get-vaccinated.
Because some pediatric providers may encounter operational challenges in offering the vaccine, such as storage and refrigeration, SFDPH has been helping to problem solve these infrastructure needs to support vaccinations of this age group and identifying gaps where resources could be focused to ensure equitable access within communities experiencing disparities in healthcare access or highly impacted by COVID-19, regardless of immigration status.
Through partnerships with schools, community groups, and others, San Francisco is seeing children 5 and older get vaccinated at high rates (75% for children ages 5 to 11, and over 90% for those 12-17 fully vaccinated), and expect those vaccinations to protect children from serious disease. Our booster uptake for people ages 5 and older is 74%, above state and national averages.
SFDPH will continue to partner with community organizations to operate neighborhood-based vaccine sites in priority neighborhoods and will offer information and vaccine appointments through these organizations.
Department of Public Health Communications
City and County of San Francisco