SF's Moscone Center set to reopen as appointment backlog could surpass 24,000

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Moscone Center, San Francisco's largest mass-vaccination site that's been placed on pause this week due to lack of vaccine supply, is scheduled to reopen on Monday, according to the county health department. But, until then residents are unable to cross the bridge to access the Oakland Coliseum mass-vaccination site.

"What about these poor people this week that have return appointments?," said Maria Tamburrino. "What about people that have new appointments?"

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Tamburrino is a UC Berkeley professor eligible to get vaccinated under Tier 1-B. Despite living in Alameda County, she was able to secure an appointment at the Moscone Center last week before it temporarily closed.

"It was an amazing experience, no wait at all," she said. "Before I knew it my shot was in my arm and I was in the waiting area."

Yet, Sheela Ivlev's 85-year-old father, a San Francisco resident didn't have the same luxury.

"It was so chaotic...it was so disorganized," she said.

After the Moscone site was put on pause, Ivlev took her elderly immunocompromised parents to Kaiser in Oakland to get the shot.

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No luck scheduling with the Oakland Coliseum site.

"There are so many things within the process that need to be improved," said Ivlev.

The Moscone Center was averaging around 3,000 to 4,000 vaccinations per day prior to closing.

After being closed for 8 days, the appointment backlog could climb to over 24,000 needed to be rescheduled.

"Does that mean I won't get my second dose appointment scheduled in a couple weeks?" said Tamburrino.

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The state's largest single health care provider, Kaiser Permanente, is lagging well behind other systems when it comes to vaccinating even their oldest and most vulnerable patients.

Comments and questions flooded social media this week posing the same question.

For example, teachers in San Francisco can't go across the bridge to get vaccinated in Alameda County, like Tamburrino did.

According to the MyTurn site, if you work in the 'Education and Childcare' industries in Alameda, Napa, and San Mateo counties you do qualify. Yet, the site confirms that's not the case for teachers in San Francisco County.

"I think it's wrong and it's unfair," said San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney. "They should be able to access the coliseum site."

Haney says part of the problem is the state's software system that is restricting the rules based on eligibility in each county.

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"One of the things that went wrong is that each of the counties decided to move on at different times," Haney said. "We should be making a decision collectively of when to expand eligibility because we are all relying on sites now that serve the region."

The Moscone Center mass-vaccination site will reopen Monday after receiving additional doses from the state.

The question is - how long will the supply last?

"I have heard we will have enough to open Moscone starting next week," Haney said.

But with a long list of backlogged appointments, teachers like Tamburrino don't want to take any chances.

"What will happen if it's paused again?" she said.

ABC7 reached out to CAL OES that is managing the site with FEMA to get more clarification on the appointment confusion, but we are still waiting to hear back. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration is increasing the allotment of doses for each state by 2.6 million starting next week. The state's distribution workforce tells ABC7 supply won't significantly ramp up until mid-March.

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