Medical assistant Judith Holmes administers a vaccine to patient Vik Kashyap at a new COVID-19 neighborhood vaccination site at 3271 18th St. in the Mission District on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Medical assistant Judith Holmes administers a vaccine to patient Vik Kashyap at a new COVID-19 neighborhood vaccination site at 3271 18th St. in the Mission District on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

New vaccine site opens in Mission District

A new vaccine site for Mission community members opened Thursday at 18th Street and Shotwell, the same day the state opened up vaccine eligibility to residents 16 and older.

Mayor London Breed and other city officials made an appearance to kickstart the grand opening.

“We are here in this community, opening yet another site, because the people of this community and in particular, the Latino community, have been the hardest hit by this pandemic; not just in San Francisco, but in this state,” Breed said.

Open Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m, the site will administer 200 vaccinations a day to Mission residents over 16.

Located at the Local 261 Union Building, it’s the second neighborhood site operating in partnership with the Latino Task Force, an organization that works to alleviate the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on the Latino community. As it stands, SF Latinos make up 12% of the population, but 40% of all COVID-19 cases, according to city data.

Breed said meetings with the Latino Task Force made her realize that the City wasn’t doing nearly enough with their recovery and resource programs. With the help of Supervisor Hillary Ronen, the Department of Public Health and other city agencies, the city funnelled an additional $29 million to aid Mission residents, specifically.

“We thought we were doing what we were supposed to do and we were wrong,” Breed said. “We were wrong because the community was on the ground doing the work, and they were helping and serving people, and they were dealing with serious challenges. Numbers did not lie, the numbers demonstrated clearly we weren’t investing enough.”

Valerie Tulier-Laiwa of the Latino Task Force said the effort largely depended on city agencies and leaders to collaborate and cooperate, which she said wasn’t easy at first. She hopes the site will show the community that they’re a priority.

Supervisor Ronen visited the Latino Task Force’s 24th Street and Capp vaccination site to receive her second dose on Monday. The location has vaccinated over 10,000 Mission residents, predominantly from the Latino community, since February.

“I was the only white person there, and I have never been so happy to be the only white person anywhere,” Ronen said. “Everyone around me was speaking Spanish, they were from the community, in many cases and instances they were dragged to the site to get vaccines from members of their own community. I thought to myself, this is the reason that we are leading the nation in terms of numbers and beating this virus.”

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said the vaccine supply remains limited and appointments at city locations will be difficult to nab until May. San Francisco’s set to see a third decrease in Moderna and Pfizer vaccines over the next few weeks.

“Right now we’re doing about 12,000 vaccines in arms a day and we can have that capacity of over 20,000,” Colfax said. “We’re doing well but unfortunately there is going to be a decrease in supply.”

Colfax also thanked the Latino Task Force for showing DPH the way to make vaccinations accessible.

“[Latino Task Force] helped us establish the low barrier work, that every door needs to be the right door,” Colfax said. “The bureaucracy wasn’t always the right door at the beginning of this pandemic and I acknowledge that that we adjusted, we learned and we evolved.”

Residents are encouraged to make an appointment for the Shotwell site in-person at 24th and Mission, Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., or at 701 Alabama Street Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Residents can also email LatinoTaskForceSF@gmail.com to request an appointment.

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