Both educators and food-service workers gained eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines last week in San Francisco, alongside emergency services, transit, and grocery store workers. But getting an appointment still has been no easy feat for some.
On Tuesday night, teachers in San Francisco were sent special access codes giving them priority in the line for vaccination appointments. And city officials tell the Chronicle that they believe that all 4,600 teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District will be able to get their first shots by next week. This doesn't include the thousands of others who work in private schools and elsewhere and count as "educators," and Phase 1B is proving to be a crowded one.
Officials estimated that around 168,000 people who live and/or work in San Francisco would qualify in Phase 1B, which officially started on February 24. As Eater reports, for as many success stories as chefs, bussers, and servers are sharing, there are plenty of failures, and there's clearly not enough appointments to go around — especially with thousands of them being reserved for teachers.
"Vaccines are like buying concert tickets on Ticketmaster — nearly impossible,” as Gozu chef Marc Zimmerman tells Eater.
Restaurant workers are rushing to get vaccinated with good reason, as the industry is starting to come alive again and just began indoor dining at limited capacity on Wednesday. And many are forced to work in tight indoor spaces where distancing isn't possible, which has made for a highly anxious year.
Because there is such an array of venues doling out vaccines, all with their own appointment systems and regulations, it's that much harder to figure out where available doses may be. (One of your best bets if you're eligible may be to jump across the Bay to the FEMA-run site at the Oakland Coliseum, but they are also prioritizing teachers right now. Look for an appointment here, and be sure to check back often.)
The Chronicle reports that some restaurant workers are still anxious because of the uncertainty around the spread of COVID among the vaccinated — they don't want to bring the virus home to unvaccinated family members or roommates. And there is concern that diners are going to become increasingly cavalier around mask-wearing as vaccines become prevalent and pandemic fears subside.
And that turns servers and bartenders into mask police.
"Trying to be an outspoken COVID educator for people when I’m on shift feels weird and uncomfortable,” says Jon Weeks, a bartender at Anina in Hayes Valley, speaking to the Chronicle. "You get nervous in a hospitality context that anything adversarial is going to negatively impact your tips."
Also, there are reports of some members of the Black and Latinx communities being reluctant to get vaccines, out of fear, distrust, and misinformation. And the Chronicle spoke to one Spanish-speaking cook at a SoMa restaurant whose boss misinformed her that she wasn't eligible to get vaccinated yet.
Still, hopefully, all of this is temporary and the city will hopefully be feeling more like itself again in a couple of months — after most of us are vaccinated and the high-key stress of the last year gives way to some much-needed celebration and relaxation, just as our best weather months arrive.
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