Nearly three quarters of San Francisco's Latino residents have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine -- marking a major milestone for a community that once had the highest case rates in the city -- city officials said on Monday.
So far, 70 percent of the city's eligible Latinos aged 12 and up, about 93,000 people, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Latino residents in the city, as well as across the state, have seen the most disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates, with Latinos accounting for over 40 percent of all cases citywide despite representing just 15 percent of the city's population.
Health experts had said Latino San Franciscans faced high infection rates because many work essential jobs and also live in multi-generational households.
According to Mayor London Breed, the city was able to successfully vaccinate 70 percent of Latino residents thanks to a network of high-volume vaccinations sites, community health clinics, pharmacies and mobile sites in neighborhoods with high Latino populations, like the Excelsior, Mission and the Oceanview-Merced Heights-Ingleside neighborhoods.
"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. 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," Breed said in a statement.
"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," Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said.
"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, one of several community partners the city worked with to carry out the vaccination efforts.
"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," he said.
According to city health officials, since January, the 7-day average number of new cases citywide has declined by 97 percent from 372 cases to just 10 as of June 20. So far, 81 percent of the city's total population over the age of 12 has received at least one dose of the vaccine.