San Francisco City Mayor London Breed called the city’s coronavirus vaccine supply “inconsistent, insufficient, and unpredictable,” despite previously committing to inoculating about 10,000 people every day.
On Tuesday, Breed attended a live-stream discussion with Dr. Naveena Bobba, the San Francisco Deputy Director of Public Health, and Dr. Susan Philip, the city’s Director of Disease Prevention and Control, to monitor how the vaccine supply is going around the region.
Not Enough Vaccines
“I know this is the topic on everybody’s mind. We’ve never done anything like this before in this country, in this state, or in this city. Vaccinating this many people as quickly as possible in the midst of a pandemic; it’s a complicated process with many moving pieces,” Mayor Breed said.
Breed said the lack of sufficient supply of vaccine doses was hampering San Francisco’s efforts of administering the treatment to several mass vaccination sites.
“We are ready to distribute 10,000 at least, bare minimum, per day once we have enough supply of the vaccine. But so far, the amount of vaccines we are receiving from the state and federal government is inconsistent, insufficient, and unpredictable. For now, vaccine supply remains our biggest constraint,” Breed said.
Philip argued that two of the factors hampering vaccine distribution were limited production and complex demands. California officials immediately distribute vaccines they receive to its 58 counties and large health care providers.
“In fact, in San Francisco, two-thirds of the vaccine that’s coming into the county is going straight to our healthcare partners. That’s important to realize,” Philip said. She expressed her agreement with Breed about the struggles of meeting their vaccination goals.
Philip said that the latest numbers show the city has received a total of 144,000 vaccine doses, 60% of which, or about 80,000, have already been administered to residents. Most of the remaining supplies are already set to be given to people as their second doses. Officials revealed that 98% of the city’s doses have either already been used or are allocated as second doses.
San Francisco would need about 420,000 doses to completely vaccinate people who are placed in the first tier of eligibility for the treatment, which includes health care workers and those who are aged 65 years and older. However, with the city’s supply only totaling about 144,000, they only have less than a third of the required number of treatments, CBS Local reported.
Additionally, for the most effective protection against the virus, an individual must be given two doses of the same type of vaccine with a three-to-four-week gap. “The difficulty is you can’t mix and match these doses. We’ve got to really make sure it’s the same dose,” Philip explained.
Bobba said that state officials were discussing how to most efficiently administer the vaccine doses to its residents. She argued that the storage requirements of Pfizer’s vaccine were another struggle to keep a large number of treatments on hand.