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SAN FRANCISCO’S MOBILE VACCINATION UNIT TO VACCINATE UP TO 1,000 SENIORS IN CHINATOWN SENIOR LIVING FACILITIES

The City’s mobile vaccination units ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for
vulnerable populations. Next week, the City will deploy a mobile vaccination team to
Chinatown’s largest senior living facility, Ping Yuen, in an effort to boost vaccination rates for
San Franciscans 65 and older.

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San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, the Department of Public Health, and the
COVID Command Center (CCC) today announced the City will vaccinate up to 1,000 seniors
and eligible community members at Chinatown’s largest affordable family housing facility, Ping
Yuen, and other housing facilities in the next two weeks. The two-day event at Ping Yuen on
Friday, April 2 and Friday, April 9, is aimed to increase the vaccination rate for seniors in
Chinatown and is part of the City’s broader mobile vaccination efforts to reach communities that
have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Since its launch in mid-February, the City’s mobile vaccination program has administered
approximately 2,000-3,000 vaccines to residents in the Bayview, Tenderloin, Excelsior, Mission,
Chinatown, and Western Addition. DPH and CCC have more than 30 mobile vaccination events
planned in the next three weeks and are working closely with community partners to provide
referrals for appointments to priority populations.
“From the very beginning, our vaccine distribution has been focused on reaching our
communities that have been hit hardest,” says Mayor Breed. “We know that means meeting
people where they are and making vaccines not only available, but also easy to access. Our
community clinics and mobile vaccination teams are a critical part of that effort.”
San Francisco is committed to an equitable vaccination strategy, with a specific focus on
reaching populations that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. To that end, the
San Francisco Department of Public Health has been focused on reaching communities that have
been hard-hit by the pandemic. San Francisco is implementing strategies to reach the most
vulnerable populations where they are, including mobile vaccination teams. In addition to mobile
vaccination teams, San Francisco has located high-volume sites and neighborhood vaccine
access sites in areas that have carried the burden of the virus.

In partnership with community-based organizations and health care providers, San Francisco’s
mobile vaccination teams bring COVID-19 vaccine directly to people and neighborhoods with
limited access to healthcare providers or pharmacies. Specifically, the mobile vaccination teams serve homebound adults, senior living facilities, people served by behavioral health programs,
and people experiencing homelessness in high-risk congregate living facilities. Recently, the
City expanded vaccine eligibility to include people living in SROs, considered high-risk
congregate settings. Over the past several months, COVID Command Center and Department of
Public Health coordinated a series of mobile vaccination pilot programs to test strategies for
reaching SRO residents so that the City can scale up its efforts when increased vaccine supply
allows.

San Francisco has made good progress vaccination people 65 and older, with 80% of people 65
and older having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Overall, DPH’s focus on
racial equity in vaccine distribution has been successful. A higher proportion of the administered vaccinations have gone to people of color than the total citywide vaccinations.

Nearly 40% of the DPH vaccine allocation has gone to the Asian population compared with 32%
of citywide vaccinations, and 25% of the DPH vaccine allocation has gone to the Latinx
population compared with 11% of citywide vaccinations.

Additionally, as a result of San Francisco’s efforts to meet people where they are and bring
vaccine resources to the neighborhoods that have been hardest-hit by COVID-19, the
neighborhoods with the highest vaccination rates for seniors 65 and older are the Bayview
Hunters Point, Western Addition, Portola, Mission, and Treasure Island. San Francisco continues
to address disparities in vaccination rates. Given that 65% of seniors in Chinatown have been
vaccinated, DPH and COVID Command Center are deploying mobile vaccine resources to the
Ping Yuen senior living facility and other housing facilities to help address that disparity and
increase vaccination rates in Chinatown.

“A legacy of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Department of Public Health has a strong network of
community clinics and long-standing relationships with community-based organizations as well
as robust integration of care into SROs and other supportive housing,” says Director of Health
Dr. Grant Colfax. “We’ve been using this mobile care model for many years to serve vulnerable
populations and now we are applying these practices to administering the COVID-19 vaccines. I
recently had the opportunity to see a mobile vaccination unit in action at NextDoor, a shelter
serving people experiencing homelessness, and it was wonderful to see the relief on people’s
faces when they got their vaccine.”

Mobile Vaccination Efforts
Yesterday, March 25, the City partnered with GLIDE to administer 100 vaccines as part of a
pilot, which will eventually scale up to a bi-weekly event with the goal of administering 1,000
vaccines per week. The event at GLIDE is a partnership with the City, University of California,
San Francisco’s Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, Life Sciences Cares-Bay Area,
and San Francisco Community Health Center. The San Francisco Community Health Center is a
beneficiary of DPH and San Francisco Public Health Foundation’s $5.28 million grant program
to provide culturally responsive services to neighborhoods and populations most impacted by
COVID-19 through outreach, linkage to testing and vaccine, contact investigation, and isolation
and quarantine services.

Additionally, the City will host a series of mobile vaccination events on Treasure Island for
eligible Treasure Island residents on March 27, April 3 and April 10 at Ship Shape Community
Center (850 Avenue I) from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. The site is primarily by appointment with very
limited drop-in capacity. The mobile site is being run by DPH and CCC in partnership with the
Fire Department, the Treasure Island Development Authority, and One Treasure Island, with
outreach support from the Latino Taskforce.

To serve people with disabilities, the City is partnering with the Mayor’s Office on Disability
and other community partners on several mobile vaccination events. This Saturday, March 27
and Sunday, March 28 the University of the Pacific Dental School will vaccinate 300 people
with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Starting Friday, April 2, and recurring for four to
six weeks, Lighthouse for the Blind will administer 200 doses a day to people with disabilities.
The City has set up a call center to help people with disabilities who are unable to easily access
the internet or schedule an appointment through their provider access appointments. The number
is (628) 652-2700.

The goal of the City’s vaccination strategy is to make receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as
convenient and comfortable for as many people as possible, particularly in those neighborhoods
disproportionately affected by the pandemic. In partnership with the healthcare providers in San
Francisco, the City is facilitating the quick and efficient delivery of vaccines through high volume vaccine sites, neighborhood vaccine access sites, community clinics, pharmacy
partnerships, and mobile vaccination teams.

San Francisco now has the capacity to vaccinate 20,000 people per day, double the original
target to vaccinate 10,000 daily. Despite this significant capacity, supply constraints continue to
limit the City from operating at full capacity and is the biggest barrier to vaccinating people as
quickly as possible.

People who are eligible to be vaccinated can sign-up for an appointment at:
SF.gov/getvaccinated.

“Vaccine availability and accessibility has been challenging for Chinatown given our high
volume of seniors, frontline workers, transit users and overcrowded families living in SROs. We
welcome this place-based vax for Ping Yuen’s seniors—bringing it to public housing and,
hopefully, SRO’s will significantly amplify the effort to get our San Francisco communities
protected against COVID,” stated Malcolm Yeung, Executive Director of the Chinatown
Community Development Center.

“Today marks an incredible milestone in our COVID-19 response efforts,” stated San Francisco
Community Health Center CEO Lance Toma. “We are proud to work with so many partner
organizations on our City’s mobile vaccination efforts in the Tenderloin. We will work nonstop
to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are vaccinated ASAP. We will train and work with a
cadre of community ambassadors to eliminate as many barriers to ensure vaccine access is as
easy as possible.

“Life Science Cares, a nonprofit funded by companies in the biotech and life science industry in
the Bay Area, is pleased to support this cross-sector coalition to make it as easy as possible for
those living in the Tenderloin to receive the COVID vaccine,” said Lynn Seely, MD, a member
of the Life Science Cares-Bay Area Board of Managers.

“Today marks an incredible milestone in our COVID-19 response efforts,” said Lance Toma,
CEO of San Francisco Community Health Center. “We are proud to work with so many partner
organizations on our City’s mobile vaccination efforts in the Tenderloin. We will work nonstop
to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are vaccinated ASAP. We will train and work with a
cadre of community ambassadors to eliminate as many barriers to ensure vaccine access is as
easy as possible.”

“We know that the vaccine equity is one of the most urgent issues facing us right now. We know
that people experiencing homelessness want the opportunity to be vaccinated, but need vaccines
to be accessible. The UCSF BHHI is thrilled to take part in an amazing partnership to bring
vaccines to where people are, guided by those with lived expertise of homelessness,” says
Margot Kushel, MD. Professor of Medicine at UCSF and director of UCSF Benioff
Homelessness and Housing Initiative.

“There are significant challenges in providing access to COVID vaccinations to the housed and
unhoused residents of the Tenderloin. Bringing a weekly neighborhood vaccination site to the
Tenderloin is an absolute accomplishment. GLIDE is tremendously proud of our partnership
with the SFDPH, UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, Life Sciences Cares-Bay
Area, and San Francisco Community Health Center. Together we are reducing barriers to
vaccine access and serving some of the most marginalized people in the City,” said GLIDE
President and CEO Karen Hanrahan.

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