September 24, 2021
SFDPH and health system partners develop next stage of vaccination plans for children under 12 and booster doses when eligible under federal and state guidelines.
As health institutions serving the people who live, work, and seek services in SF, we are proud of our collective accomplishments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the communities that we serve, together we followed the science and have attained one of the highest vaccination rates in the world – with 81 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated in SF.
We have also responded effectively to emerging challenges like the rise of the Delta variant this summer and helped improve the health outcomes for our population by addressing health needs, continuing to vaccinate, and providing other essential services that have helped slow the spread of the disease and reduced hospitalizations.
As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced authorization of Pfizer booster doses for individuals 65 years and older and other high-risk groups and evaluates expanded eligibility of vaccines for children ages 5-11, we are preparing for the next stage in our vaccination efforts this fall based on these recommendations.
Upon further federal and state approvals, we will be prepared with a collaborative approach from SF’s robust network of nearly 100 vaccination sites – from doctor’s offices to clinics, pharmacies, and more. Many of these sites were thoughtfully established this year to enable a large proportion of San Franciscans to access a vaccination site within a 10- to 15-minute walk. A number of high-volume sites across SF, including those at all major health systems, have the capacity to administer 200 to 300 doses per day. These also include four school-based sites that can expand to as many as 250 vaccines a day to support the school community as needed.
We anticipate a capacity to administer 25,000 vaccine doses per week across these sites to collectively meet demand from eligible children, adults seeking first-time vaccination, and third-dose boosters for those who qualify. We must underscore that our highest priority will be to ensure access to first and second doses for all members of our community, including children ages 5-11 when they become eligible.
For those who have already received the primary dose series, the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. As anticipated federal and state recommendations begin allowing additional groups of people to receive booster doses, such as those who are 65 and older and potential high-risk groups, eligible individuals can work in their booster doses as time and availability allow over the course of several weeks.
Once the appropriate state and federal approvals are issued and individuals are eligible, we encourage people to make appointments for boosters and vaccinations at their health care homes. They may also receive vaccines at local pharmacies. This could also be an opportunity to receive wellness checks that may have been put on hold during the pandemic, or for other vaccination updates such as the annual flu vaccine.
To ensure access for the most highly impacted and vulnerable communities, SFDPH has numerous health access points within the SF Health Network and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital that should be reserved for highly impacted and vulnerable communities.
We look forward to continuing to serve the health needs of our communities and will provide further updates about the recommendations and how eligible individuals can receive their vaccines or booster doses when they are available.