San Francisco announced what it said was an "important milestone" on Tuesday, saying that 70% of eligible Latinx residents, i.e. those over the age of 12, have received at least one vaccine dose as of today. That represents 93,000 people in the city who are part of one of the hardest-hit communities in the pandemic.
Also as of today, 81% of all eligible city residents have received at least one vaccine dose, and 74% have been fully vaccinated. The figures come as public health officials in Los Angeles and elsewhere around the world are urging continued caution and indoor mask-wearing due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. While the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have preliminarily been seen to be highly effective against this and other variants, the infectiousness of the Delta variant, first seen in India, means it could seed serious outbreaks among unvaccinated pockets of the population.
Public health officials also said that San Francisco's seven-day average of new cases had declined 97% since January, from 372 cases to just 10 as of June 20.
San Francisco officials tout their success with vaccine outreach to the low bar for accessibility to vaccine shots in many SF neighborhoods — including pop-up vaccine clinics in recent months in the Mission, Excelsior, and Ingleside neighborhoods which have high concentrations of Latinx residents.
"With low barrier access to vaccines and a strong network of trusted community partners on the ground, we have reached the important milestone of 70 percent of the eligible Latino population in San Francisco receiving at least one vaccine dose," said Mayor London Breed today in a statement. "As we celebrate this success, let's remember that COVID is not over. If you know of any family or friends who are not yet vaccinated, please encourage them to do so now. Vaccines are free, safe and will protect you and your entire community."
"Just five months ago, our community was battling with some of the worst rates of infection our city had seen," said Jon Jacobo, health committee chair of the Latino Task Force, which was one of several community partners working with the city on the vaccination effort. "We sprang into action with our UCSF (University of California at San Francisco) and Department of Public Health partners to roll out lifesaving vaccines. Today, we stand proud and feel more at ease knowing our collective hard work in the face of adversity has paid off."
SF Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax also celebrated the news, saying, "Thank you to the Latinx community for leading and responding to the call to get vaccinated and stepping up to protect themselves, their families, and their community against COVID-19. While we celebrate this important milestone, we encourage every eligible person in the city to get vaccinated, especially in light of new virus variants hitting our communities."
San Francisco has a goal to reach 90% vaccinated in all demographic categories.
Going by a percentage of all eligible residents, SF's Latinx population is actually ahead of SF's white and African American populations in terms of vaccinations. City data as of Tuesday finds that only 64% of the white population and 58% of the African American population has received at least one vaccine dose. These figures are based on demographic estimates from the American Community Survey, and may not be precise.
To date, over 582,000 San Francisco residents have completed a vaccine cycle or taken the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Photo: Mufid Majnun