race for a vaccine

SF to Begin Vaccinating Teachers, Others in Phase 1B Starting Later This Month

Marco Bello | Reuters

The city of San Francisco will move on to the second phase of COVID-19 vaccinations and begin vaccinating more residents beyond health care workers and the elderly later this month, Mayor London Breed said Tuesday.

During a briefing at City Hall, Breed said the city would move to Phase 1B, Tier 1 of the state's vaccine prioritization plan, starting on Feb. 24.

Phase 1B includes educators, child care workers, emergency workers, and those who work in agriculture and in the food industry will be eligible.

Currently the city remains in Phase 1A, which includes health care workers, nursing home residents and people 65 years old and above. Phase 1A accounts for some 210,000 people who live or work in the city while Phase 1B accounts for about 115,000 people who live or work in the city.

Although vaccine supplies continue to be limited, the city and its partner health care providers are averaging 4,343 vaccinations daily across several vaccination sites, including the recently launched Moscone Center site.

The city is aiming to eventually be able to vaccinate up to 10,000 people daily across all sites once more vaccine becomes available.

"The vaccines represent the light at the end of the tunnel," San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. "While sufficient supplies are preventing us from vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible, we all have reasons to be hopeful."

Colfax added that he's hopeful vaccine supplies coming from the state and federal government will increase within the next weeks.

At the briefing, Breed also touched on reopening San Francisco Unified School District schools, one week after the city filed a lawsuit against the school district over the closures.

Under the new round of vaccinations starting later this month, teachers would be eligible -- something unions representing SFUSD workers have been advocating for in negotiations with the district over in-person learning.

Although Breed said she was looking forward to getting teachers vaccinated and moving forward with plans to reopen schools, Breed said she doesn't foresee schools reopening until the following 2021-2022 school year despite a tentative agreement reached between the district and unions reached over the weekend.

"The fact is, based on limited information we have about the tentative proposal, I don't think it's realistic that we can expect schools to open this school year," she said. "I just care about getting our kids back in school. Whatever that takes, whether that's through negotiations or the legal system it's fine, but I want to be sure that at the end of the day we're being honest with the public," she said.

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