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San Francisco AIDS Foundation begins administering COVID-19 vaccines

Following guidance from the California Department of Public Health, essential health workers and staff working in the clinic will be vaccinated first.

SAN FRANCISCO, January 26, 2021– With approval from the California Department of Public Health, San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) today began administering COVID-19 vaccines to essential health workers and staff working in its clinic on Castro Street.

“San Francisco AIDS Foundation has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic providing essential health services to our community.  We’re protecting our staff so that they can continue to protect you, and keep services open,” said Joe Hollendoner, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “Our staff haven’t missed a day of service since the pandemic began. Today’s announcement means that COVID-19 won’t slow us down now.”

On January 26, San Francisco was in Phase 1a of vaccine administration because of limited vaccine supply, which designates vaccination for individuals providing direct health care and those supporting onsite health care.  As guidance changes, SFAF will modify its vaccination efforts. For the latest information about vaccine eligibility, visit https://sf.gov/covid-19-vaccine-san-francisco and https://myturn.ca.gov/.

“Once SFDPH approves vaccine administration to broader groups, we will be supporting efforts to provide vaccination for community members, prioritizing people experiencing homelessness, people who use drugs, and BIPOC individuals,” said Janessa Broussard, NP, vice president of medical affairs at SFAF.

Eligible community members can sign up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at San Francisco AIDS Foundation at https://www.sfaf.org/covid19vaccine.

In 2019, SFAF launched a five-year strategic plan promoting health, wellness, and social justice for all those living with and affected by HIV. Addressing health disparities is an essential component of that work which necessitates prioritizing transgender and gender non-binary people, people who inject drugs, people experiencing homelessness, and Black, Indigenous, Latinx and all people of color. Many of these communities, especially Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities, have experienced disproportionate rates of COVID-19, disconcerting trends that have also persisted in the HIV epidemic for years. As a community-based organization rooted in the HIV movement, San Francisco AIDS Foundation is well-positioned to bolster local vaccination efforts.

“Ensuring vaccine access for communities most impacted by COVID-19 is a top priority. As SFAF expands outreach plans, we will continue to monitor developments regarding vaccine safety and availability, and provide updates as vaccine rollout efforts continue,” concluded Broussard.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines help decrease the chance that people will become seriously ill with COVID-19. Additionally, medical professionals agree that the vaccine is safe for people living with HIV and will not interfere with any HIV-related treatment or care.

The currently available COVID-19 vaccines require two doses, with the second dose administered either 21 days or 28 days after the first dose depending on the option. Although there is some protection within two weeks after the first dose, peak protection from the virus is achieved about two week after the second dose. Everyone, including individuals who have been vaccinated, should continue adhering to public health protocols by maintaining social distancing, wearing face coverings, and practicing frequent handwashing.

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About San Francisco AIDS Foundation

San Francisco AIDS Foundation promotes health, wellness, and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV, through sexual health and substance use services, advocacy, and community partnerships. Founded in 1982, SFAF envisions a future where health justice is achieved for all people living with or at risk for HIV, ultimately striving for a day when race is not a barrier to health and wellness, substance use is not stigmatized, HIV status does not determine quality of life, and HIV transmission is eliminated. Each year more than 25,000 people rely on SFAF programs and services and millions more find advocacy tools and information they need online at sfaf.org.