'We had 6,000 people': Thousands turned away at SF vaccine clinic due to overwhelming demand

ByCornell W. Barnard KGO logo
Sunday, April 11, 2021
SF vaccine clinic runs out of shots, turns away about 4K people
Thousands of people showed up for a vaccine clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Saturday. About 4,000 of them were turned away as demand heavily outweighed the supply.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There was a big demand for vaccine all across the Bay Area Saturday.

With only days away from California opening up vaccine eligibility for everyone 16 and older, San Francisco is getting a jump-start by offering free vaccinations to those in priority zip codes -- But the demand far exceeded supply in one location.

Thousands of people showed up early and got in a long line for a vaccine clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. The wait was painful for some.

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San Francisco opened vaccine eligibility early, ahead of the April 15 expansion, to those living in eight priority zip codes of underserved communities.

Both reservation and walk-in appointments are available here, but no one knew how big the demand would be.

"We had 6,000 people show up before 9 a.m.," said San Francisco General Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lukejohn Day.

With only 2,000 allotted doses per day, upwards of 4,000 people had to be turned away.

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"I'm surprised, I had friends scouting this out, they said best time to come is late. I guess they were wrong," said Blake West.

"I apologize, we can't vaccinate everyone who showed up," said Day.

On the Peninsula, Facebook teamed up with the Ravenswood Family Health Center to provide vaccines to underserved communities near its Menlo Park campus, like East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.

"We had 52 percent of the COVID cases here.. it's good vaccines are accessible here," said Cicilia Taylor from Belle Haven Action.

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Back in San Francisco, Blake West wasn't isn't giving up on getting vaccinated.

"I'm definitely going to try again tomorrow," he said.

Hospital officials urge people to return any day over the next several weeks from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Their best advice is, arrive early to help guarantee a vaccine.

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