People with a whole range of medical conditions will be eligible for their vaccine shot effective Monday, March 15, as will anyone in a congregate care facility like a homeless shelter or jail.
Folks should be rightfully giddy over President Biden’s announcement Thursday night that everyone should be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. But in terms of the right here and now, NPR reports that 19.3% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose, while statewide, California is slightly behind that pace at 19.2%. And in statement today, Mayor London Breed says San Francisco is well ahead of both at an impressive 27%.
But that’s not the biggest news in Breed’s announcement. The bigger news is that more groups will be eligible to get the vaccine starting Monday, March 15, according to the Chronicle. These groups include a very broad range of those with qualifying medical conditions, and those living in congregate care facilities, like homeless shelters or correctional facilities.
Starting Monday, 3/15 the eligibility for vaccinations will expand to include people ages 16-64 with disabilities, qualifying health conditions, and more.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) March 12, 2021
Full announcement and details: https://t.co/qoZ2aSyucL pic.twitter.com/LpeKcnJsyl
“Getting vaccinations to people with disabilities and who have severe underlying conditions, and people who are in congregate settings, is an important part of our efforts to save lives and protect our most vulnerable residents,” Breed said in a Friday statement. “Next week, we’ll be moving forward with expanding vaccine access in San Francisco and we’ll continue working with accessibility advocates and community members to make sure we are doing our best to reach everyone who is eligible.”
Her statement does add that “Although supply is still not at the level we need it to be, we’re continuing to make good progress and we’ll keep doing our best to get vaccines to people as quickly and conveniently as we can.”
To ensure low-barrier access to vaccines, SF will not require vaccination sites that do not have access to patients’ medical records to require proof of diagnosis and/or disability.— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) March 12, 2021
Instead, patients may be asked to provide a self-attestation of their qualifying condition.
Breed’s announcement expands on updated state eligibility that was announced Thursday, which included a host of medical conditions like cancer, pregnancy, and a number of heart conditions. Per KRON4, San Francisco is adding additional eligible groups to include “people living with HIV and developmental, medical, physical, sensory, or behavioral health disabilities.” Anyone ages 16-64 with those conditions will be eligible Monday, 65 and older are already eligible.
San Francisco will expand vaccine eligibility Monday to people with disabilities and severe underlying health conditions as well as homeless people living in congregate settings, city officials said. https://t.co/mTBUQNAPAQ— SF Examiner (@sfexaminer) March 12, 2021
The sudden new eligibility of the homeless population is surely going to raise some eyebrows, but this does not appear to mean the entire SF unhoused population. According to Breed’s announcement, vaccine shots can go to anyone in a “high-risk congregate care facility including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and other congregate residential care and treatment facilities,” and that “this will include all people experiencing homelessness, who could transition into congregate settings at a short notice.” The Examiner adds that the city is already plotting mobile vaccination sites to reach the homeless population.
If you’re in one of these newly eligible groups, or any Phase 1b group, you can go to SF.gov/getvaccinated to book an appointment. The site does say that “Even if you are eligible, there may not be a dose available right now,” but do keep checking back. And of course, your Muni ride is free both to and from your appointment.
Image: Macau Photo Agency via Unsplash