After receiving 2,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Monday, SF General became the first hospital in the city to begin administering it Tuesday morning, with one critical-care doctor who has treated the most severely ill COVID patients being the first to receive a dose.
Dr. Antonio Gomez received the vaccine just after 9 a.m. Tuesday, as KPIX and the Examiner report. Gomez serves as medical director of Critical Care Services at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and has served on the faculty at UCSF in the Division of Pulmonary. He said in a faculty interview that he got into pulmonary and critical care "because I really enjoyed the weird, very extreme physiology affecting multiple organ systems that occurs in the ICU – much of which often center on the seemingly simple act of air moving in and out of the lungs."
Dr. Antonio Gomez was the first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco. He is Medical Director of Critical Care Services at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where he has treated the most critically ill COVID-19 patients. https://t.co/W3HChnMqR8 pic.twitter.com/nRvwPA6dvi— KTVU (@KTVU) December 15, 2020
A nurse in the intensive care unit at SF General, Phung Nguyen, was the second person in San Francisco to receive a vaccination dose.
"This is a historic day for our city and, we hope, the start of a turning point in our response to COVID-19,” said Mayor London Breed in a statement. “This has been a really tough year, and this is good news for our city and for the fight against COVID. It gives us some much-needed hope during an otherwise challenging and uncertain time."
Also receiving their first doses of the vaccine on Monday were UCSF, Stanford Medical Center, and John Muir Health in Walnut Creek, and vaccinations are expected to begin at all three hospitals in the next day or so.
San Francisco's first allotment of the Pfizer vaccine is expected to include 12,675 doses, which are going to be administered to healthcare workers with workers being prioritized based on how many patients they have in their care. The first dose of the vaccine is expected to confer some amount of immunity to COVID-19, and the second booster shot administered about a month later will increase that. Experts have cautioned that we still do not know if a vaccinated person is able to contract and spread the virus for any period of time, despite not becoming seriously ill.
California received a combined 33,150 vaccine doses on Monday, as the Examiner reports, just over 10 percent of the expected 327,600 total doses the state will receive in this first allotment. The initial batches went to just four cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Eureka. By Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said, 60 percent that allotment should have arrived in the state, and dozens more cities will be receiving them. A second allotment from Pfizer of another 393,900 doses is expected to arrive as "early as next week."
"We are embarking on a vaccine distribution effort unlike anything this country or San Francisco has ever seen," said SF Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax in a statement today. "While this is a significant moment that we should celebrate, we have a long road ahead of us."
A second vaccine made by Massachusetts-based biotech firm Moderna — which we first learned about entering trials the day after lockdowns began here in San Francisco, on March 17 — has been found to be equally as effective as Pfizer's, and it is expected to receive emergency approval by the FDA later this week, with distribution to follow in the coming weeks. California is expecting to receive over 670,000 doses of that vaccine.
In a Monday press briefing, Dr. Colfax said that vaccine was "too late" to have any impact on the surge San Francisco is experiencing in new cases and hospitalization. He estimated that there are over 2,800 active COVID cases in the city at present, and added, "With so much virus out there, you are not going to get away with any bad behavior."