SF Mayor London Breed went to a clinic in her home neighborhood, the Western Addition, to receive her COVID-19 vaccination today. Breed was one of a number of public officials receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following on a campaign by top health officials to convince the public that it is just as good as the other two vaccines at preventing severe illness.
"I know that some people in our communities have concerns about whether or not they should get a vaccine," Breed wrote on Twitter. "These vaccines are safe, they’re effective, and they can save your life."
One year ago today I told San Francisco that we needed to stay home and save lives.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) March 16, 2021
Today, I'm getting vaccinated with the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine to show that all the vaccines are safe and effective.
This is how we end the pandemic. When it's your turn, get vaccinated. pic.twitter.com/iypJCvHSf8
Breed also said that in San Francisco, vaccinations for the homeless population will likely use the Johnson & Johnson shot, because of the more complicated logistics of getting people to return in a specific timeframe for a second dose of the other vaccines. As the Chronicle reports, she said, "It was important for me to make sure that I not only get this vaccine, but more importantly, that I demonstrate, as the leader of the city that it’s safe."
And regarding the Johnson & Johnson shot and the homeless, she said, "I want them to be able to say that this is the same shot that the mayor got."
There has been a lot of misinformation going around about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine's efficacy — specifically the 66% figure cited in its Phase 3 trial results. But that is misleading. The vaccine is 85% effective at preventing serious COVID cases — and 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID. And as the New York Times reported, the overall efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson shot may be equal to or greater than the efficacy rates of the other two if all three were put to real-world trials side by side — something that there was not time for due to the pandemic emergency.
Breed scheduled her vaccination on the one-year anniversary of San Francisco's shelter-in-place order, at the Maxine Hall Health Center. Technically, she's been eligible for a few weeks now, as the Examiner notes — she qualifies as an emergency services worker who would be part of Phase 1B, which began in the city on February 24.
On Monday, March 15, the state of California expanded eligibility to include a list of serious underlying health conditions that could make people vulnerable to severe COVID cases. In San Francisco, the list of eligible conditions was expanded, and notably it includes people with less than severe obesity — those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, versus the state criterion of BMI greater than 40.
But given that food-service workers, teachers, emergency services workers and others just became eligible in recent weeks and have already had trouble finding available vaccine appointments, the expanded eligibility on Monday has only made appointments that much more scarce.
Trust in the vaccines has been hampered, particularly in some communities of color, which has been a cause for concern nationwide as the vaccine rollout doesn't need anything else slowing it down. According to city data, 31% of the San Francisco's population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, and in the Western Addition, where Breed got her shot, about 30% of the neighborhood has gotten a shot.*
In encouraging all San Franciscans to get vaccines when they can, Breed said, "You've all done your part for the past year to keep each other safe. Let's do it again, together."
*This post has been corrected to show that the Western Addition's vaccination rate is about the same as the city's.