Kaiser Permanente Lays Off More Than 200 Workers in Northern California

Kaiser Permanente plans to lay off more than 200 workers throughout Northern California, including some in the Bay Area. The company plans to tell impacted workers on Monday, after informing union representatives earlier this week.

The positions eliminated are primarily non-clinical administrative support positions, according to Kaiser.

Georgette Bradford is a member leader with SEIU Healthcare Workers West, whose members are impacted by the cuts. She says the move feels like a slap in the face.

"It was very callous in its timing and context, considering we have not even come out of, we're just coming out of a pandemic right now," she says, calling it "a year of hell."

Bradford says, "our union members have been working through this pandemic, putting their lives on the line, putting their families at risk coming into work every day. Understaffed. Then to turn around and layoff notices when the company has made $6.4 billion in this year alone."


In a statement, Kaiser said it will work with employees to help transition them to other positions and that the 200 staffers were being laid off in a "reorganization" effort. Kaiser said it is always looking to "streamline and redesign work processes," which sometimes requires changing internal operations.

"We recognize the incredible contribution of all of our staff who have performed admirably especially throughout the past year and we are committed to providing comprehensive and personalized support," a Kaiser spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Union leaders and management have 60 days to negotiate over the proposed layoffs before they go into effect.

— Holly McDede

Pfizer Vaccine Available to Ages 12-15 Thursday, But Some Already Scheduling Appointments

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel on Wednesday recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15.

California health officials say the vaccine won’t be available for that age group until Thursday and that parents can't make  appointments through their county or the state just yet.

Some parents, however, have been able to schedule their kids for vaccinations through other avenues.

"They may be able to make appointments with their own providers or through retail pharmacies," said Dr. Anand Chabra, San Mateo County's COVID-19 vaccination branch chief.

CVS Health announced more than 500 of its pharmacies are currently scheduling vaccine appointments for the newly authorized group.

Booking appointments through the state’s My Turn website will begin on Thursday.

Parents or guardians will need to accompany young people to their appointment, but several counties say they'll allow signed consent forms or verbal consent over the phone.

Most Bay Area counties are asking young people or parents to bring a form of identification such as a birth certificate, student ID or even a report card. Some counties, such as Contra Costa, do not require an ID.

Laura Klivans

San Francisco Will Reopen City Hall in June

San Francisco's City Hall, like most everything else in the city, shut down in March 2020 as the coronavirus began to run rampant. But unlike many other aspects of city life, the domed building, which opened in 1915, is still not open to the public.

That will change starting Monday, June 7, when City Hall will resume in-person public services like applying for marriage licenses, paying for property taxes, and retrieving birth and death certificates, as service counters for the Treasurer and Tax Collector, Assessor, County Clerk, and Small Business offices, among other agencies, reopen.

Oh, and one of the happier events that used to take place in the building, at least compared to paying your taxes, will also resume: weddings. You can now make online appointments to get married at City Hall, with up to six guests allowed.

Before the official reopening, some "very limited services" will be offered, by appointment only, starting June 1.

Check out the City Hall website for more info.

Jon Brooks

San Mateo County Moves Into Least-Restrictive COVID Tier

San Mateo County moved into the state's least-restrictive COVID-19 reopening tier Tuesday, allowing the county to reopen almost all indoor businesses, with capacity limits.

The move to the yellow tier of the state's reopening blueprint will allow the county to reopen bars indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, while expanding indoor capacities for businesses like restaurants and gyms.

"Moving to the yellow tier is a credit to everyone who has worn their masks to slow the spread and to the 76% of us here in San Mateo County who have rolled up their sleeves and gotten the vaccine," county Board of Supervisors President David Canepa said in a statement.

County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow also announced Tuesday that he rescinded his June 17, 2020 health order that detailed local guidelines for social distancing and masking. The county will now comply with the masking guidance issued last week by the state Department of Public Health.

San Mateo County is the second Bay Area county to move into the yellow tier after San Francisco did so last week.


In addition to the 76.4% of county residents ages 16 and older who have received at least one vaccine dose as of Monday, 72.3% of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated, according to county data.

Much of the Bay Area remains in the orange tier, which designates moderate COVID risk, while a handful of counties including Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey were on the cusp of advancing to the yellow tier this week.

State officials have targeted June 15 to sunset the tiered reopening system and remove capacity restrictions, provided that vaccine supply remains ample and coronavirus-related hospitalizations remain low.

- Bay City News

Berkeley Opens Pop-Up Downtown Vaccine Clinic, No Appointment Needed

Remember when trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment felt about as easy as scoring tickets to the Super Bowl? How times have changed.

In just the last month, what was overwhelming demand to get jabbed has plummeted, leaving health care providers awash in perishable vaccine doses and hungry for arms to put them in.

That appears to be the case in Berkeley, which this week (Tuesday through Friday) is operating a temporary walk-in vaccine clinic in Civic Center Park. The city, which has its own health department, is also hosting a vaccination site in South Berkeley on Tuesday and Wednesday, and one in West Berkeley on Friday.

The sites are open to everyone 16 and older (those under 18 need parental consent). No appointment is needed – although ones can be scheduled if desired.

Vaccinations are also available at the Buchanan Street mass vaccination site just over the border in Albany and at many privately run health care providers, pharmacies and supermarkets throughout the region.

Some 55% of Berkeley residents 16 and older are now fully vaccinated, according to the city's health department – a rate slightly higher than that of Alameda County as a whole. The biggest challenge now lies in reaching the remaining share of the population that has yet to sign up.

May 11-14: Downtown Berkeley Clinic
10:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Open to everyone 16 and up.
Allston Way, between Milvia Street & MLK Jr. Way.
Parental consent: 16- and 17-year-olds need consent from a parent or guardian via: signed consent form; parent or guardian at vaccination; phone call to your parent of guardian.
Walk up or create a free Carbon Health account and sign-up online.

May 11 & 12: South Berkeley clinic
9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Open to everyone 16 and up.
McGee Baptist Church, 1640 Stuart St.
Make an appointment

May 14: Drop-in in West Berkeley
9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., 12:45 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Open to everyone 18 and up
2500 Eighth St., Lot E parking lot on the Bayer campus.
Drive-thru, bike-thru and walk-thru vaccinations available.
Make an appointment

Every Tuesday-Saturday: Albany mass vaccination site
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
1 Buchanan St., Albany
Pfizer (16+): May 12, 13, 14, 15
Moderna (18+): May 11, 12
Parents must accompany 16- and 17-year-olds 
Use myturn.ca.gov to reserve a spot. (Scroll down the "select location" page until you see "Buchanan St Parking Lot (next to Albany Bulb).

Matthew Green

Bay Area Looks Ahead to Vaccinating 12- to 15-Year-Olds

On the heels of the Food and Drug Administration taking the first step Monday toward expanding emergency use of Pfizer's COVID vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, Bay Area health officials are gearing up for another round of shots.

COVID-19 case rates keep falling around the state, yet outbreaks are still occurring. In Sonoma County, younger people have been contracting the coronavirus, which has been traced back to social gatherings and sports events, according to Dr. Urmila Shende, who heads the county’s Vaccine Mission Program.

Shende is excited to start getting tweens and teens vaccinated at school clinics, health centers and pharmacies. She says even though young people fare better after becoming infected, serious consequences can still result. They may infect other unvaccinated people in the community, for instance.

"And somebody within that group may end up having a very bad outcome," Shende said. "This is the issue with COVID. You never know what’s going to happen."

Dr. Ann Petru, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, says reaching herd immunity without vaccinating this younger group would be difficult.

"You know, a lot of them are out playing and hanging out. You see them wearing no mask and out skateboarding," she said.

Petru says the data shows the Pfizer vaccine is safe and the side effects minimal.

State health officials say they are waiting to hear what the Centers for Disease Control’s safety review group says at a Wednesday meeting about expanding the vaccine for use in 12- to 15-year-olds. Then, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, created by California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon to review vaccine research, will assess the data and issue a recommendation. If the workgroup gives the go-ahead, several Bay Area counties say they will start administering the vaccine.

Polly Stryker and Jon Brooks

San Francisco Teachers Union: Deal Reached to Bring High School Seniors Back

The San Francisco teachers union says it reached an agreement Friday on bringing high school seniors back into classrooms starting May 14.

United Educators of San Francisco President Susan Solomon said in a statement that the union made the proposal to the San Francisco Unified School District so that graduating students "would have the opportunity to spend some time in-person on campus with teachers and their peers during their last few weeks of high school ... ."

Solomon says the union is currently surveying its teachers for volunteers to come in for the newly opened classes. "Though the survey is still open, we already know that there are enough educators who have stepped up to make this return happen," Solomon said. "We are looking forward to seeing our students in person."

The last day of the school year is Wednesday, June 2. The school district has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Currently, only San Francisco public elementary schools are open to all students for in-person learning. Middle and high schools have only brought back what the district calls "priority populations," including newcomer and homeless students, foster youth, students in public housing and those who have been languishing by showing limited engagement during remote learning.

After a highly contentious year in which the Board of Education was perceived to have been dragging its feet on reopening by some parents, the school board passed a resolution in April to bring all students back full time in the fall, and the district is now looking to hire a consultant to make that happen.

Jon Brooks

Los Angeles Offering Walk-In Vaccine Appointments

Los Angeles residents will no longer need an appointment for COVID-19 vaccinations at city-run inoculation sites, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Sunday.

The city is prepared to administer over a quarter million vaccinations for the second week in a row, the mayor's office said.

Last week, Los Angeles stopped requiring appointments for some walk-up and mobile locations. Starting Monday, appointment-free options are available at all vaccination sites. People can still sign up ahead of time if they prefer.

“We stand at a critical juncture in our fight to end this pandemic, and our City will keep doing everything possible to knock down barriers to vaccine access and deliver doses directly to all Angelenos,” Garcetti said in a statement.

In addition, the city will provide nighttime appointments at three locations so residents can get vaccinated after work, officials said. At the city’s first night clinic last week, 62% of first doses were given out after 2 p.m., Garcetti’s office said.

So far, 48.4% of Los Angeles County residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 34.8% are fully vaccinated, according to the Los Angeles Times’ vaccination tracker.

The Associated Press