San Francisco Receives First Round of COVID-19 Vaccine Amid Surge in Cases

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San Francisco Department of Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said the city's situation remains dire as hospital beds continue to dwindle amid an unprecedented COVID-19 surge, but he remained optimistic as the city has already received the vaccine Monday morning.

Within the last week, city health officials have reported an average of 200 new cases per day, Colfax said during a virtual briefing.

In the Bay Area, the number of intensive care unit hospital beds fell from 26 percent to 17 percent within the last week. Other regions, like the San Joaquin Valley, have already run out of beds, according to Colfax.

"Cases are rapidly rising and hospital beds are shrinking within the state, the region, and San Francisco," he said.

"If the hospital census keeps rising at the current rate, San Francisco will run out of intensive care unit beds within the next three to four weeks, as the state and region can also no longer care for sick people due to overall shortage of intensive care unit beds. If things worsen, we will run out of beds sooner," he said.

According to Colfax, the city received 2,000 vessels of the Pfizer vaccine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Monday morning. He added, however, the vaccine likely won't address the current surge.

"Let's give thanks for the life-saving vaccine that is on the way, but I cannot emphasize, we must still remain vigilant because the hope of this vaccine won't crush this surge and with limited supply of the vaccine will not save us from this current increase and surge in hospitalizations," he said. "Obviously, it's incredibly important we vaccinate people as quickly as possible and we will be keeping the public updated on progress in that regard."

Colfax has said the vaccine's first doses will be reserved for frontline workers.

Colfax is urging residents to refrain from holiday travel and to continue to prevention efforts like regular hand-washing, using face coverings and practicing social distancing.

So far, the city has reported 18,645 total cases and 167 deaths.

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