January 5, 2021

Dear City Employee:

I am writing to provide you with our most up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan and what you can expect as a city employee.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization for two vaccines to prevent COVID-19. These highly effective vaccines (approximately 95% effective at preventing COVID infection) are now being distributed to counties and healthcare providers across the country.

Vaccine allocation, prioritization and timeline is heavily regulated and directed by the federal and state government. The State of California is prioritizing the administration of vaccines first to those with the highest risk of becoming infected with and spreading COVID-19. The State’s plan is based on a phased approach as vaccine supply, for now, is limited.

Acute Care and Emergency Medical Services Workers Receive First Dose.
The first doses of the vaccine arrived in San Francisco and the Bay Area on December 15th. Healthcare providers immediately began vaccinating high-risk healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, as mandated by the State’s prioritization plan. City employees currently being vaccinated are working in acute care settings and/or are emergency medical services workers who are in contact and provide care to members of the public on a regular basis. If you are eligible to receive the vaccine through the Department of Public Health based on the State’s guidelines, you will receive information with instructions for scheduling an appointment via email.

The Department of Public Health (DPH) and the San Francisco Health Services System (HSS) expect that most City employees will receive the vaccine through their healthcare provider (Kaiser, UCSF, Sutter, etc.) or local CVS or Walgreens pharmacy. The providers and authorized pharmacies are also required to follow the State’s prioritization plan. DHR, DPH and HSS are working closely to make sure all employees who qualify under the State’s criteria receive the vaccine.

State of California’s Prioritization Plan.
Below is an outline of what we know so far about the State’s vaccine prioritization plan. The plan has multiple phases for vaccine administration, and each phase either includes, or will include, tiers that determine the order for vaccine administration within a phase.

Phase 1a (more than 80,000 people in San Francisco): Healthcare workers and emergency medical responders at highest risk of getting COVID-19 from their jobs. To date, the State has authorized vaccine supplies for Phase 1a only.

  • Tier 1: Acute care employees, including all who work in person at direct patient care facilities; assisted living and skilled nursing facility staff and residents; emergency medical technicians and paramedics; dialysis center staff; and similar settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals.
  • Tier 2: In-home supportive service workers and home health care staff; community health workers; public health field staff; and clinical staff at primary care, urgent care, and correctional facility clinics.
  • Tier 3: Specialty care clinic staff, laboratory staff, dental and oral health clinic staff, and pharmacy staff not working in settings at the higher tiers.

Phase 1b has not yet been defined by the State. Further determinations, including which city employees are covered under this phase and timeline for vaccine distribution, is also not known at this time.

Phase 1c and all future phases are also under development by the State.

For general information about the COVID-19 vaccine please visit: https://sf.gov/information/about-covid-19-vaccines. This webpage will be updated on a regular basis. We will continue to update you about the next phases of vaccine distribution as they are determined by the state. If you have additional questions about vaccine distribution, please contact your human resources representative.

Please continue to follow public health guidance to protect yourself from COVID-19; keep your distance from others, wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently, and if you feel sick, stay home from work, isolate, and get tested.

Thank you for all you do in service to the City and County of San Francisco.


Carol Isen
Human Resources Director (Acting)