Jillian Ganzfried, a BayPLS phlebotomist, administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to Jose Luis Castellanos, 65, at the Unidos En Salud low barrier vaccination site at 24th & Capp streets on March 1, 2021. Photo by Mike Chen.

Local, walk-up vaccine sites in the Mission and Excelsior districts now offer Pfizer boosters.

No appointment is needed to receive the booster at the community vaccine sites at 24th and Capp streets and 20 Norton St. Eligible persons may also opt to receive the booster at home through the Latino Task Force’s Alabama Hub at 701 Alabama St.

The 24th and Capp street site is open Saturday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the Excelsior site is open Thursday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Fridays from 12 to 6 p.m. More information about these and other vaccine sites is available at sf.gov.

For on-site or at-home boosters from the Alabama Hub, eligible individuals can sign up online or get help with their registration in person on Thursdays. “We can get [the vaccine] taken care of the day of,” said Shalom Bandi, Alabama Hub site lead.

All sites continue to offer first and second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The sites began offering the boosters to eligible populations who originally received the Moderna vaccine on Thursday in the Excelsior and Saturday in the Mission. They have offered boosters to eligible people who received the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for several weeks.

“We’ve had plenty of people coming through,” said Carmen Zarza, Latino Task Force testing and vaccine coordinator for the Excelsior neighborhood. “Specifically for our site, we usually ask that people come earlier if they are coming without appointments, because we are still trying to prioritize those first and second doses.” 

Susana Rojas, a Latino Task Force organizer at the 24th and Capp street site and the executive director of Calle24, is also expecting a high uptake. She said they gave over 3,000 people the Moderna vaccine and are expecting all of those recipients to eventually get their booster.

The 24th and Capp street site also offers the influenza vaccine. “Flu season is around the corner, and we want to make sure everyone is healthy,” said Rojas.  “It’s a one-stop shop.”

More on Boosters for Adults, Vaccines for Kids:

Vaccines have been proven to protect against hospitalizations and death, but protection wanes over time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded eligibility for boosters for seniors and special populations in late October, which includes people older than 65, those older than 18 with underlying medical conditions, and individuals living or working in congregate settings and healthcare facilities.

Eligible populations who originally received a Pfizer or Moderna shot may receive any Covid-19 vaccine as a booster at least six months after their second shot.

Additionally, anyone 18 years and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is eligible for a booster at least two months after their shot. They may receive any authorized Covid-19 vaccine as a booster.

“The evidence shows that all three Covid-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe — as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, when booster approval was announced. 

“They are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant,” she added.

UCSF researchers shared data and official recommendations with Latino Task Force partners last week, and they enthusiastically endorsed boosters for community members.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health is also encouraging at-risk populations like the elderly to receive their boosters ahead of the busy holiday season. According to the Dept. of Public Health, only a fifth of eligible San Francisco seniors have received a booster as of Oct. 25.

For more information about booster eligibility, visit the San Francisco Department of Public Health website.

For more information about receiving a booster in the Mission and to schedule a regular dose or booster dose appointments, visit the Unidos en Salud website (for 24th & Capp site) or register with the Alabama Hub.

For more information about receiving a booster in the Excelsior and other sites, visit sf.gov.

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"Annie" is originally from Nebraska, where she found her calling to journalism as editor of her high school newsletter. Before returning to the field, she studied peace and political science in the Balkans, taught elementary and middle school, and worked as an epidemiologist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow her on Twitter @anlancheney.

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