San Francisco opens neighborhood COVID vaccination site in Mission District

San Francisco unveiled a new COVID-19 vaccination site in the Mission District on Monday as part of a joint effort to secure equitable access to the vaccine in hard-hit neighborhoods. 

The Department of Public Health called Monday a "soft launch" as operations are refined for patients’ safety. The site will initially run on an appointment-only basis and be available for community health workers and local residents over the age of 65 within the Unidos en Salud/United in Health network.

The virus has disproportionately impacted the city’s Latino community, which helped fuel the effort to establish a network of neighborhood vaccine sites, according to San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

"We know sadly that our Latino population, which represents about 15 percent of San Francisco, has been the hardest hit," she said. "Of the over 30,000 cases, [Latinos] have been about 42 percent of those cases."    

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The city said they will initially offer 120 vaccinations per day, but that number could grow between 200 and 400 when vaccine supply increases. San Francisco said it’s ready to administer 10,000 vaccines per day. So far, 104,000 people have been vaccinated in San Francisco. 

"We're still basically slow in terms of the vaccines that we are getting," said Breed. "And my understanding is that we expect that to ramp up a little bit."

The private sector says it's facing a similar problem with limited doses. Kaiser's CEO says they have the ability to inoculate as many as 200,000 people per week. But, so far have only received about 300,000 doses of vaccine.

Kaiser in a written statement said, "What is limiting appointments is the very limited supply of vaccine California is receiving from the federal government. We are receiving a small supply of vaccine in comparison to our membership; we have received only enough to vaccinate 4.5% of our California members."

San Francisco partnered with Unidos en Salud/United in Health, UCSF and the Latino Task Force to make vaccinations more accessible through neighborhood sites. 

"We know that interest in getting vaccinated is very high in the community," said Dr. Diane Havlir, a professor of medicine at UCSF and a co-founder of the Unidos en Salud Latino Task Force/UCSF/DPH collaboration, in a statement. "We asked more than 5,000 adults who came for testing last month at the 24th Street BART plaza, and 86 percent said they were open to getting vaccinated."

State lawmakers are hopeful that with the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the market, the supply of vaccine will begin to meet demand.

"I know there has been a lot of frustration here and around the state about why aren't we getting vaccines out faster," said State Senator Scott Wiener from San Francisco. "And we did have a slow start in California. But, it is changing. It is starting to accelerate. It will continue to accelerate and we need to make sure that as we accelerate people get the vaccine."

Another vaccination site is set to open in the Bayview neighborhood in the coming days.

Full press conference: