A woman in her 90's from Nicaragua, is wheeled away by her daughter after receiving her dose at the Mission Housing vaccine pop-up. According to director Marcia Contreras, she was hesitant about the vaccine at first, but now will travel to see family back in Nicaragua. Pop-up vaccination site at Mission Housing in the Mission, San Francisco.
A woman in her 90's from Nicaragua, is wheeled away by her daughter after receiving her dose at the Mission Housing vaccine pop-up. According to director Marcia Contreras, she was hesitant about the vaccine at first, but now will travel to see family back in Nicaragua. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

The courtyard of Mission Housing’s affordable complex off Valencia Street near 16th was opened today for residents, many of them elderly, to receive a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. There was supply for 45 shots. 

Regino Blanco, 84, was waiting in her wheelchair with her daughter for 15 minutes after receiving a dose of Johnson & Johnson. 

Blanco, who has lived at Mission Housing for almost 12 years and was born in the Philippines, said she “is so happy, although before I was scared because of the bad news and reactions that are not good.” Her daughter said Blanco had cancelled her first appointment out of fear. 

Regino Blanco, and her daughter in the waiting area of the Mission Housing vaccination pop-up. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

“You’re getting Johson & Johnson today, so one shot and you’re done” a nurse told a patient entering the pop-up clinic. 

Yet Cynthia Jones, 57, who has lived at Mission Housing for eight years, was not yet able to breathe the sigh of relief other residents experienced.

“Wait list? I live here!” she exclaimed to the staff members who told her they do not have enough doses for her, and she would have to join the list.  (Update: Jones later returned and got her dose, according to Julio Lara from Mission Housing.)

Cynthia Jones, a Mission Housing resident on the waitlist for a vaccination. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

“It’s important for us to see residents’ concerns,” said Marcia Contreras, the deputy director of Mission Housing who worked with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to create on-site vaccination pop-up. 

Contreras says she wants to be sure low-income communities are not left behind, as many individuals have underlying health conditions. And although many of the elderly residents they surveyed have already been vaccinated, she estimates that 15 percent of elderly residents at Mission Housing have not yet received a shot. 

According to Contreras, Mission Housing had to send a list to the health department of who they would be vaccinating ahead of receiving the doses, meaning they only had enough vaccines for those who registered ahead of time. 

As it stands, this is a one-day pop-up. But Mission Housing would like to continue to offer vaccinations to its residents if supply allows, especially once eligibility expands on April 15. Mission Housing has 3,000 residents in 1,600 units around San Francisco. 

In any case, Mission Housing is collaborating with the Latino Task Force vaccination site on 24th and Capp, and can send residents there who are unable to receive a vaccine on-site.

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Clara-Sophia Daly is a multimedia storyteller and reporter who has worked both in print and audio. A graduate of Skidmore College where she studied International Affairs and Media/Film studies, she enjoys working at the intersection of art and politics, and focusing on the stories of individuals to reveal larger themes.

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