San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney on Tuesday called for the city to step up vaccinations for the city’s most vulnerable residents — low-income residents who live in both the Tenderloin and Treasure Island.
Haney’s call on Tuesday follows up a letter he sent last week to the city’s Department of Public Health and the COVID Command Center, calling for more vaccine sites in the two areas.
“It’s unconscionable that there are still no publicly available vaccine sites in the Tenderloin or Treasure Island. These two neighborhoods continue to be last on the list when it comes to COVID response, despite having the highest concentration of people living in poverty and congregate settings,” Haney said in a statement. “We, along with our community partners, have been telling our city departments over and over again that we need vaccine sites in these neighborhoods and now even the state government has identified these two areas to be high priority. We have the need, the will, and the resources to establish public vaccine sites but we need our city to take action.”
Haney’s announcement comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom last week announced efforts to prioritize 40 percent of the state’s vaccine for some the most underserved zip codes, based on a variety of criteria including residents’ income and their access to adequate health care.
Both Treasure Island and Tenderloin meet the criteria.
In the Tenderloin, 30 percent of residents live in poverty. The area also has more than 6,200 residents who are above 60 years old, according to Haney’s office.
“The Tenderloin is a unique neighborhood with residents that face unique barriers to vaccine access. A few blocks might not sound like much but for our residents, many who are unhoused or have disabilities, that’s a huge barrier. Places like Moscone Center are a long way from the Tenderloin. We have locations and sites right now in the Tenderloin that we can turn into vaccination sites immediately, but we need the vaccines and the support from the city,” Found and Executive Director of the organization CODE Tenderloin Del Seymour said.
According to Haney, due to geographic barriers, Treasure Island residents are even more isolated with no vaccination site on the island, despite having the third highest percentage of Black residents of all the city’s neighborhoods, and the third highest percentage of Latino residents.
So far, just 8 percent of residents on the island have been vaccinated, according to Haney’s office.
“It’s not surprising that Treasure Island has the lowest vaccination rate in the city. We’re isolated and continue to not be a priority when it comes to COVID response,” community organizer Hope Williams said. “It’s imperative that we bring a vaccine and regular testing site to the island and if city officials make the call and let us set up tomorrow, we have advocates here that are ready to go.”
Haney said later this week he’ll convene various stakeholders to continue demands for the more vaccine sites.