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San Francisco Administers First COVID-19 Vaccinations

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San Francisco began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to frontline health care workers Tuesday morning. 

The city was one of the state’s four initial distribution hubs that welcomed vaccine doses Monday, receiving 2,000 units of the Pfizer vaccine.

California as a whole received a little more than 33,000 doses Monday, which nearly matched the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in the same day. According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, another 393,000 doses are expected to arrive in California early next week. That number is up from the initially expected 327,000 doses by mid-December.

According to the California Department of Public Health distribution plan calculated based on the initial 327,000 dose order, Region II — composed of 16 Northern California counties, including the entire Bay Area — would receive more than 80,000 doses in the first phase.  That number should go up slightly based on the increased allocation.

The U.S. passed on an opportunity to shore up more than 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, leaving the nation scrambling to acquire more once the formula was granted an Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday — that effort has netted little success. However, the Moderna formula is next up in line for FDA approval, which is expected as early as this week. 

The agency briefed the public Tuesday, saying they’ve confirmed the Moderna vaccine to be 94.1 percent effective and that “no specific safety concerns identified would preclude issuance of an EUA.” The panel of outside experts will meet Thursday to offer their recommendation to the FDA, as was done with the Pfizer formula prior to the EUA approval.

It was shared Friday that the U.S. was able to increase their preemptive order of the Moderna vaccine from 100 million to 200 million doses, which will be distributed after FDA approval. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom looks at Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in a subzero freezer as the first 33,000 doses arrives in the state on Monday, December 14, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom)

All of that is good news for the nation and state of California amid the struggle to maintain staffed ICU beds. The priority for vaccine distribution is frontline health care workers, which is imperative during the current COVID-19 case surge, and long-term care facilities residents who have proven to be most vulnerable to serious illness and death caused by the virus.

It is not yet known how long the vaccine immunization lasts and whether people who are vaccinated can still transmit COVID-19 to others. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to continue wearing masks and distancing themselves from others until more of the population is vaccinated. According to current assessments, the general population — outside high-risk groups and frontline essential workers — can’t expect vaccinations until spring.

However, the distribution process is costly and states are largely at the mercy of a stalled federal stimulus needed to finance the operation.      




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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.