Will mass vaccination sites return with the COVID booster shots rollout?

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Starting September 20, booster shots for coronavirus will be up for grabs at doctor’s offices and healthcare systems in the Bay Area.

The announcement was made by the federal health officials on Wednesday, saying that the booster shots will be given to all qualified Americans at least eight months after they received their second vaccine shot.

Medical workers, nursing home residents and staff, however, will be the first to get the booster shots.

“So if you got vaccinated in January you will be eligible in September,” Dr. George Rutherford of UCSF said.

After the priority group, the vaccination will welcome the general public and thus, huge vaccination sites will once again operate, he said.

“It’s just the way it’s going to have to happen,” he said.

While the formal guidance on the distribution arrangement is yet to be received by the health officers from the state, there were several areas that said it will reflect the initial rollout.

San Mateo County, for one, said they intended to probably consider a mass vaccination site. San Francisco, meanwhile, hopes not to open mass sites again when the rollout starts.

“As of now we don’t need to do any additional mass vaccination sites because a lot of that will happen through health systems,” Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco Health Officer, said.

Pharmacies and health clinics can be utilized instead of mass vaccination sites in terms of distribution of the first rollout of the boosters, Dr. Philip noted.

Mike Wasserman, who was once part of the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the state, has some concerns regarding the matter.

“I think it would be a huge mistake to even consider going back to CVS and Walgreens,” Wasserman said, as reported by ABC7. “I think what we really need to do is to facilitate making the vaccine readily available to the long-term care pharmacies.”

In terms of verifying the vaccinations, Wasserman said: “Those details have yet to be fully worked out. But, I think having your card with you will help a lot to skip through a lot of the steps of the registry,” said Rutherford.