Clinic business

Vaccine lines short as SF opens first weekend monkeypox clinic

Monkeypox clinics in San Francisco opened for the first time on a Saturday morning. It aimed to give people the option of getting vaccinated outside normal office hours.

Monkeypox clinics in San Francisco opened for the first time on a Saturday morning. It aimed to give people the option of getting vaccinated outside normal office hours.

As usual, people looking for a vaccine arrived at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital hours before it opened to secure a spot in line.

Carlos Munoz arrived early from Oakland because he saw photos and videos of the length of the lines.

“I heard people were queuing for two or three hours,” he said. So I decided to get here as soon as possible.”

He waited a total of 10 minutes to get his shots. The same story goes for Benjamin Tran, who traveled from San Mateo.

“I brought my book and everything,” Tran said. “I expected to wait over an hour.”

People who showed up came in and left with a vaccine. This was also the case at the city’s second walk-in vaccination site on the Kaiser Permanente campus along Geary in San Francisco.

“It’s really about wanting to be the best community resource possible,” said Dr. Susan Ehrlich, CEO of SF General. “It’s about having enough vaccines to be able to be open on a Saturday.”

This weekend’s vaccine supply came from the allocation of 10,000 doses received by the San Francisco Department of Public Health earlier this week.

While it’s easy to conclude that low wait times mean public health officials are making progress, UCSF infectious disease physician Peter Chin-Hong says not to read too much into short lines.

“I think that’s just the peak of demand right now,” he said. “It’s just the people who can access their phones, hear from friends online who know when things are open and how long they’re open.”

Dr Chin-Hong says the next step is to try to vaccinate people who are not easy to reach; people who can’t get to clinics or don’t have access to resources to know when those clinics are open.

“I think there are a lot of things we can aspire to, but we’re not there yet,” Dr Chin-Hong said.

Another step to consider – when can health officials begin administering a second dose of vaccine. At the moment, you can only get a second dose, with a doctor’s prescription.

According to the SFDPH, a second vaccine is available for people with moderate to severe immune deficiency, as they may not develop immunity after just one dose. This includes people undergoing active cancer treatment, people taking drugs to suppress the immune system, and people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, among other conditions.

It remains unclear when second doses for the general public will be readily available, or when another shipment of vaccines will arrive in San Francisco.