San Francisco officials opened the Mission District’s first coronavirus vaccination site on Monday, with plans of a second site to be opened in the Bayview shortly after.
The leaders of two Latino nonprofit organizations received their first shots of the COVID-19 vaccine in a parking lot on the corner of 24th and Capp streets as officials looked and applauded. City leaders said the Mission District’s vaccinations site is only the first of many to come.
Coronavirus Vaccination Site
“I’m really excited today. Now, finally, we’re in a decent place. No, we haven’t been able to address the disparity that continues to persist, although we’ve invested over $26 million in helping to provide additional resources. But there’s still more that needs to be done. We know this is the best ” San Francisco City Mayor London Breed said.
The region has been one of the worst-stricken by the coronavirus in California. In San Francisco, more than 42% of confirmed COVID-19 cases are Latinos who only account for 15% of the area’s total population.
However, the vaccination site in Mission is currently only accepting an invitation, appointment-only basis, serving community health workers and local residents who are at least 65 years old within the Unidos en Salud/United in Health network.
On Monday, San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said about 104,000 of the city’s 210,000 people in the first phase group had been vaccinated. He said that city officials were prioritizing health care workers, in-home support services staff, and long-term care residents.
San Francisco continues to administer more vaccine doses that it receives from the state and federal government. City officials aimed to administer about 10,000 doses every day, but is only able to reach about 11,000 every week, said Colfax.
“We’re basically still slow in terms of the number of vaccines that we are getting. My understanding is we expect that to ramp up just a little bit especially with what our President is trying to do to get more vaccines made faster,” said Breed. She said the city has already used up 90,000 of its available 150,000 doses, storing the remaining ones for second doses.
On Monday, State Senator Scott Wiener said many criticized the lack of available doses in California. “It is changing, and it’s starting to accelerate, it will continue to accelerate. These vaccines are going to save our planet from this pandemic,” he said.
However, the speed of the Mission District’s vaccination depends on how much supply it is able to receive. The health department said the site planned to administer about 120 doses per day. If supply from the state and federal government increases, this number could go up to 400 per day, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“It’s taken the entire barrio to deal with this pandemic. A lot of the people we work with are the most vulnerable people, the hardest working people, minimum wage workers who have no health insurance, they have no 401K. They have no retirement plans. This pandemic has hurt them in ways than you can ever imagine,” co-founder of the Latino Task Force, Roberto Hernandez, said.
One of the first recipients of vaccine doses in the Mission District site, Jose Ortiz, is a family support specialist that works with Casa Corazon, a nonprofit organization. Officials said the individual was a health care worker that worked closely with families at risk of contracting the virus, which made him eligible.
“When you work with people all the time, you need to protect yourself and your family, and their family as well,” Ortiz said.