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SF to expand vaccine eligibility, officials double down in school district lawsuit

San Francisco will expand its vaccine eligibility in two weeks, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday at a press conference.

Breed said The City will move into the state’s Phase 1B, Tier 1 vaccination plan on Feb. 24, which includes vaccinating educators and childcare providers, as well as food, agriculture and emergency service workers.

Breed said:

“That’s a really exciting thing that we’re going to be able to expand the number of people who are eligible in the next two weeks, but to also reiterate that the vaccine supply is still limited.”

City officials said the expansion makes more than another 115,000 people who live and work in The City eligible to receive the vaccine, which is over and above the 210,000 health care workers and those over the age of 65 already eligible.

Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said The City is receiving between 10,000 to 11,000 doses a week from the state, but is ready to vaccinate 10,000 people per day.

Colfax said:

“We just need more. We just need more right now as quickly as possible.”

Two mass vaccination sites have opened in San Francisco, including one at Moscone Center with capacity to vaccinate up to 10,000 people per day when supply is available, city officials have said. The drive-thru site at City College of San Francisco on Ocean Avenue, which opened just last month, can administer up to 3,000 doses each day.

So far, The City has vaccinated 144,655 people, some with second doses. An average of 4,000 doses of vaccine are getting to people’s arms per day, Breed said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that the state has now vaccinated one in 10 people.

Colfax said The City recovered from the holiday surge and is steady seeing progress in the decrease of new Covid-19 cases. The case rate has dropped to an average of 135 new cases per day, a far cry from the 373 per day on Jan. 8.

The mayor also addressed the tentative agreement reached by the San Francisco Unified School District and unions over the weekend. She said that under the conditions of that agreement, she does not believe public schools will reopen during the current school year.

The tentative agreement would allow for in-person learning only when The City reaches the red tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and vaccines are made available to all staff who are asked to return to school sites. The red tier is the state’s second most restrictive tier.

The agreement establishes an alternative where schools could also reopen without vaccine access if The City reaches the orange tier. The agreement does not establish any concrete return dates. 

All but five of the state’s counties, including The City, are currently designated in the most restrictive purple tier.

Breed said The City has cleared six schools to reopen, including Alvarado, Glen Park, John Muir, Lawton, Sunset and Cobb elementary schools.

A total of 114 private and charter schools have reopened after having its sites assessed by DPH staff.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit last week against the school district and board alleging they had not provided an school reopening plan.

Herrera’s office on Tuesday announced an amendment to the lawsuit, claiming that the school district is violating students’ rights to attend school under the California Constitution, discriminating against students on the basis of wealth in violation of the constitution’s equal protection clause and violating state law that requires school districts to “offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.”

Breed said:

“This is not about being divisive and choosing a side. This is about the leaders of this city choosing to work together to put aside our differences, and do what is in the best interest of these children.”

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