Despite the throng of people who lined up early, organizers of San Francisco’s public H1N1 vaccination clinic this afternoon reported an orderly day and a steady supply of vaccines.
The clinic, put on by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, ran until 7 p.m. at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove Street. The city had 16,000 vaccines to distribute in its largest H1N1 clinic to date.
Doors were scheduled to open at 10 a.m., but with 150 people already in line by 9 a.m., public health officials opened the clinic a bit early, according to spokeswoman Eileen Shields.
“It was cold; they had children,” she said of the people in line.
Shields said three people waited overnight at the auditorium, and when staff began arriving at 6 a.m., a line was already in place.
At 4 p.m., Shields said 6,000 vaccines had been dispensed, and she expected supplies to last through the end of the clinic.
The event targeted high-risk San Francisco residents. According to federal guidelines, people at increased risk for H1N1 include pregnant women, children and young adults between 6 months and 24 years old, anyone who lives with or cares for infants younger than 6 months old, health care and emergency workers, and adults with certain medical conditions.
The auditorium was set up to process attendees efficiently, shepherding people to specific lines and areas based on what language they speak, what type of vaccine they need, and whether they have any special needs.
Shields said the system has worked well.
“Once we really were cooking, I would say it’s been about an hour, or an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish,” Shields said.
While the line dwindled at about 2 p.m., at 4 p.m. Shields estimated about 150 people were waiting for their vaccines.
“They’ll still be out of here in less than a half hour,” she said.
About 500 of the pediatric vaccines set aside for the clinic were recalled last week by the federal government because their potency levels decreased after being shipped to providers. Shields said the city obtained replacement vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today announced a second recall, this time of 13 batches of nasal spray vaccines manufactured by MedImmune. Like the previous recall, these vaccines lost potency by the time they arrived at their destinations.
Shields said the public health department does not know whether San Francisco received any of these recalled vaccines because they do not know the batches’ specific lot numbers.
She emphasized that the vaccines are completely safe, and residents should not be concerned.
“Even if they lost potency, they can still give people some immunity, and they are safe,” she said.