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What You Need to Know About SF’s COVID Vaccine Rollout

Updated: Jan 21, 2021 11:24
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I don’t know about you, but I will jump at the chance to get my COVID vaccination. I’m getting so stir crazy being at home all this time. I mean sure, I go on walks and sometimes have picnics in the park, but otherwise, I spend A LOT of time at home. I’m also doing a lot of day dreaming about when I can start traveling again.

Anyways, as you’ve probably heard, California is rolling out free vaccines for people. But as you can imagine, they are prioritizing specific groups like frontline workers and the elderly. There’s a whole bunch of information to understand, luckily Johnny from SF FunCheap has already painstakingly laid it out. I’m just gonna copy and paste most of it below (Thanks Johnny !?).

Please note information may change. See updates at

COVID-19 vaccine is here

The vaccine is one of the most important ways to end the pandemic.

Two vaccines have been authorized in the US. Supplies are limited.

Sign Up for Alerts: Get Notified beginning January 19th

The vaccine is expected to be available to everyone by the end of 2021. You will get it at doctor’s and dental offices, clinics, and pharmacies.

When it’s your turn, step up for your health, the health of your loved ones, and of your community. The vaccine and other public health measures, like masks and physical distancing, will slow the spread of COVID-19.

Who is getting the vaccine now?

  • Due to limited supply, the state has created a prioritization plan for who gets the vaccine and when. It’s based on the risk of getting COVID-19.
  • First are frontline healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, service workers, as well as long-term care residents. People over the age of 65 can also get the vaccine.
  • If you are in these groups, you can get vaccinated. Call your healthcare provider

When can I get the vaccine?

  • The general public will likely not have access to the vaccine until later in 2021, when we have more vaccines from the state.
  • Most people will receive the vaccine from their healthcare provider. We are working with healthcare providers to set up high volume sites.
  • We are also bringing vaccination clinics to neighborhoods most impacted by the virus.
  • When it’s your turn, step up for your health, the health of your loved ones, and of your community.

State Vaccine Rollout

While the vaccine supply is limited, the state has established a priority populations plan broken down into phases. More than 90,000 people in San Francisco are in Phase 1a. Phase 1a has 3 tiers. See CDPH Allocation Guidelines for Phase 1a.

Individuals 65 and over are now able to get vaccinated, but they are officially a part of Phase 1b.

Phase 1a

Tier 1

  • Acute care, psychiatric, and correctional facility hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • First responders (paramedics, EMTs)
  • Dialysis centers

Tier 2

  • Intermediate care facilities
  • Home health care and in-home supportive services
  • Community health workers
  • Public health field staff
  • Primary care clinics, including correctional facility clinics, and urgent care clinics

Tier 3

  • Specialty clinics
  • Laboratory workers
  • Dental and other oral health clinics
  • Pharmacy staff not working in settings at higher tiers

Phase 1b

Phase 1b has two proposed tiers. However, this may change when the state finalizes Phase 1b. You can find updates at the State’s vaccination page.

We expect that mostly primary healthcare providers will vaccinate people in Phase 1b.

Tier 1

    • Individuals 65 and over
    • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
      • Education
      • Childcare
      • Emergency services
      • Food and agriculture

Tier 2

    • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
      • Transportation and logistics
      • Industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services
      • Critical manufacturing
    • Congregate settings with outbreak risk:
      • Incarcerated
      • Homeless

Later Phases

The state is still defining who is in future phases. Phase 1c has been defined and we are waiting for Phase 2.

We expect that mostly primary healthcare providers will vaccinate people in Phase 1c.

Phase 1c

  • People 50 to 64 years of age
  • People 16 to 49 years of age, and have an underlying health condition or disability which increases their risk of severe COVID-19
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
    • Water and wastewater
    • Defense
    • Energy
    • Chemical and hazardous materials
    • Communications and IT
    • Financial services
    • Government operations or community-based essential function
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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.