Think coffee and conchas sound good? Try coffee and Covid-19 vaccines.
Last week, the Mission Wellness Pharmacy set up camp at Cafe La Taza and began enlisting passersby to get same-day Covid-19 vaccinations. Mission Wellness Pharmacy, which had already been vaccinating people at its facility at 2424 Mission St. between 20th and 21st as of a few months ago, decided to break off from its small indoor space and administer shots across the street at La Taza, at 2475 Mission St.
So far, the walk-up site on the heavily-trafficked street and the large sign advertising the shots in both Spanish and English appears to have energized locals. As of mid-afternoon on Tuesday, nine people had opted to plop down at one of La Taza’s outdoor dining booths to receive their immunization.
One woman was leisurely strolling past the restaurant when the sign caught her eye. After asking in Spanish whether she was qualified, she hopped in line. Others who noticed the pop-up promised to stop by before it closed at 5 p.m.
Anyone over age 50 is qualified to receive a shot, and pop-up organizers plan to prioritize locals.
The idea to partner with Cafe La Taza started brewing a few weeks ago. Administrators and pharmacists at Mission Wellness approached La Taza’s owner about camping out in a few of La Taza’s outdoor booths to administer shots, according to Carlos Martinez, a manager at La Taza.
Martinez’s father is a longtime client at the pharmacy, and sharing the same block on Mission has enabled the two businesses to form a bond, he said. So when the pharmacy asked for the cafe’s help to expand, it was an easy sell.
“We’re more than happy to do it; everyone needs to get vaccinated,” Martinez said. Though it may deter some potential customers with the loss of two tables, Martinez said it probably won’t have a huge impact on business at the moment. “We’re still closing early, at about 2:30 p.m. So when we leave, they can have all the spots.”
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Besides expanding capacity, the outdoor site may also attract those who failed to secure an appointment because they are less tech-savvy or unable to access a computer, said Stephanie Roman, a pharmacist working at the Mission Wellness Pharmacy vaccination site on Tuesday.
“I got so many Latinas who come to me and say, ‘I don’t have a computer.’ This is our way of reaching them,” Roman said. Those without online capabilities can call the pharmacy to set up an appointment.
Although Mission Wellness is allowing anyone under current San Francisco guidelines to get a vaccine, Roman said the pharmacy is trying to reach out to those who are low-income, Latinx or from the Mission District. Outreach has been minimal, but figures to ramp up soon, Roman added.
In addition, Mission Wellness is asking for proof for individuals who qualify because of work. “We have seen some techies lie and essentially cut the line,” Roman said. “So now I ask people to show proof from their employer or a W2 to confirm.” Clients must bring IDs and health insurance cards if they have them, but health insurance is not required. Those with underlying health conditions don’t need a doctor’s note, either.
Though the Mission Wellness/Cafe La Taza pop-up is still in initial stages, it plans to run daily; hours vary, but pharmacists expect to be present between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. At present, about 10 vaccination appointments are available at a time in the pharmacy during normal operating hours. Between the outdoor and indoor site, the pharmacy expects to give out between 30 to 60 doses a day. The pharmacy has been administering Moderna shots, though Roman said it’s possible they will receive Johnson & Johnson.
While any San Franciscan over the age of 16 is eligible for vaccination starting on April 15, this service is aimed at aiding those over age 50 or even over 65.
In the Mission, a few places are already putting shots into arms and other sites are cropping up. According to local organizers, an immunization site launches circa April 15 in the lower Mission.
Vaccine disbursement recently increased to 500 doses a day at the site at Capp and 24th streets, run by Unidos en Salud, the Latino Task Force and University of California San Francisco partnership, as well as by the Department of Public Health. The site crossed the milestone of administering more than 10,000 vaccines on April 5.
There are hundreds of available appointments for April 14 and 15 at the Capp site for any person living or working in San Francisco who is eligible under current state standards (generally, any person aged 50 or older, or someone who works in healthcare, food, agriculture, or is an educator). The Capp site continues to shuttle individuals to San Francisco General Hospital at 1001 Potrero Ave. for appointments as well.
“Anyone over 50 who is an essential worker or who lives in a multigenerational household should come on down and get one of these appointments before the floodgates open on April 15,” retired HIV nurse Diane Jones said in an email to Mission Local.
As of Tuesday, there was hardly any wait to register at the Capp site. Its sister Covid-19 testing site at 24th and Mission streets has room to accept more participants, too; as of April 5, the site reported zero Covid-19 positives.
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In addition, drop-in appointments are open for certain populations at Southeast Health Center Clinic on 2401 Keith St. and at San Francisco General. To snag one, clients must also live in one of the following zip codes: 94214, 94134, 94107, 94110, 94112, 94102, 94103 and 94130.
Other pharmacies, such as Walgreens, open availability based on the online appointment system run by the state. To access this, go to myturn.ca.gov. If there’s none left at the time of search, refresh the page and try again later — the site reports that the appointment system may add new appointments every half hour.
So far, about 50 percent of San Franciscans over 16 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, Mayor London Breed tweeted on Tuesday. At present, the city is vaccinating close to 12,000 people daily.
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To sign up for a Mission Wellness Pharmacy appointment, contact 415-826-3484 or email@example.com. Spanish speakers are available. Tech-savvy individuals are encouraged to use email, to save phone lines and staff time for those without computer access. Mission Wellness is also seeking volunteers to assist with outreach to targeted populations.