SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Monday morning, San Francisco officials toured a new COVID-19 vaccination site in the Mission District which signals a new approach in reaching out to the City’s marginalized communities.
The site located at 24th and Mission is considered the heart of SF’s Latino Cultural District and is one of the neighborhoods most impacted by the pandemic. Health officials said testing continues to show that the Latino community is experiencing high rates of new infections, with recent results revealing more than 1 in 10 Latinos who are tested are testing positive for the virus.READ MORE: Lake County Luxury Hotel, Housing Project Raises Concerns Over Wildfire Risk
UCSF, Unidos en Salud (United in Health) and the Latino Task Force created the COVID testing site. By bringing testing to the neighborhood they generated a lot of goodwill with the people. But even the Task Force members were surprised by the response when it came time to vaccinate.
“I will characterize it as shocking,” said Health Committee Chair, Jon Jacobo. “I honestly thought that the surveys we were gonna do would come back much more negative. But here in the Mission District, because of the work of the Latino Task Force and UCSF, our outreach, our trust, our consistency, 86 percent of respondents to the survey say, let’s get a vaccine today.”
Jackie Carrillo got her vaccine as a member of the team doing health outreach to the community.
“It gives my family a relief because they know that I put myself on the front lines on a daily basis,” she said.
“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted our Latino community, which is why it’s so important that we’re bringing these vaccines directly to the neighborhoods that have been hit so hard,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.
The site is currently appointment-only, with shots being offered to community health workers and local residents within the Unidos en Salud network, which includes vulnerable populations who are uninsured.READ MORE: Theft Leaves San Jose Couple Bereft: 'We’re Heartbroken, All Our Precious Things Are Gone'
Officials said the site will initially offer 120 vaccinations per day, with capacity increasing to 200-400 per day once additional supplies are available.
“We’re ready to get to 10,000 vaccines a day in San Francisco. Contrast that with our supply right now which is 11,000 for the entire WEEK for the entire city,” said SF Public Health Director, Dr. Grant Colfax.
At the Mission site, 43 percent of those tested did not have insurance of any kind. They say that’s why it’s important to make vaccination a neighborhood operation rather than focusing it on hospitals or insurance providers. Beating COVID will take a team effort from federal, state, and local governments and Jacobo says SF’s Mission District is providing a game plan that others can follow.
“We need to lay out the infrastructure of how we will operate when that vaccine comes flowing in,” he said.
Additional neighborhood vaccination sites are expected to open in the Bayview, Excelsior District, Visitacion Valley and other neighborhoods with high COVID-19 rates and limited healthcare access.
Breed said the neighborhood vaccination sites are part of a larger strategy to administer 10,000 vaccinations a day. Last month, the city opened its first mass vaccination site at City College, with plans to open sites at Moscone Center and the SF Produce Market. Vaccines would also be distributed through community clinics and through a partnership with Safeway pharmacies.MORE NEWS: Indoor Restaurant Dining Resumes, Movie Theaters Reopen in SF and Santa Clara Counties
People who live or work in San Francisco can sign up for notifications on when they are eligible to receive vaccines by visiting sf.gov/vaccinenotify.