Today, Mayor London Breed announced vaccine appointments are open for all San Franciscans over 12. Previously, only those over 16 were eligible, strengthening the case in her view to accelerate school reopening.
Opening up vaccines to younger people means even more city immunity against the virus and variants, and possible peace of mind for those worried about sending kids to school. Already, the city is reporting 75 percent of residents over 16 got at least one shot, and 58 percent are fully inoculated. There are about 25,000 San Franciscans between 12 and 15, according to the city.
Mayor Breed welcomed the news, noting its possible effect on school reopening, which has been stalled the entire year.
“This expanded eligibility is important progress in our fight against Covid-19, one that is especially encouraging as we look to fully open all of our schools for full-time, in-person learning,” Breed said in a Thursday news release.
All youth opting for the vaccine so far will get Pfizer. At present, it’s the only vaccine that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for this age group, which it announced May 10.
The emergency authorization came after a study of 12- to 15-year-olds showed that the vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing the virus among all participants who got the vaccine. Out of the 978 who got a placebo in that study, 16 got the virus, showing that the age group can get infected without a vaccine — underscoring that while chances are low, infection is still possible.
Breed’s announcement means the Mission District’s sites are ready to vaccinate children. On Thursday morning, the Latino Task Force and Department of Public Health site on 18th and Shotwell had a few appointments lined up for the new group, but many more are scheduled for Saturday.
Susana Rojas, a senior member of the Latino Task Force, said plenty of appointments are available for any eligible group. “It’s likely that if you come to the site, you’ll get a vaccine the same day,” she said.
Though likelihood of severe disease and death is much lower among children, infection is still possible. Between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, about 1.5 million cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And if questions remain, community members are encouraged to stop by 24th and Capp streets on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m for “Cafecito con el doctor,” where a doctor will answer queries regarding Covid-19 and the vaccine. But personally, Rojas is encouraging everyone to just get vaccinated.
“When the majority of the household gets vaccinated, you’re protecting everyone around you,” Rojas said. “Some young people still end up in the hospital and get bigger side-effects than before.”
where do you get a vaccine? Donde puedes conseguir la vacuna?
As more youth become immunized, pressure is mounting to get kids back into classrooms — which has been a fraught process in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, which heads the Community Hubs, and the San Francisco Unified School District commended the vaccine news for its impacts on learners. Both agreed to partner with the city in promoting and disseminating the vaccines.
This could eventually lead to maskless learning indoors, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people no longer need to socially distance or mask up inside.
San Francisco Unified School District superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said, “Vaccinations are one of the most effective preventative measures in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. I encourage all students who are able to get the vaccine to do so as soon as possible. It will be an excused absence!”