Samaya Pupiro Covid-19 vaccine shot at Excelsior Strong Latino Task Force New Covid-10 vaccine site in Excelsior District
Samaya Pupiro, 18, is among the first to receive a Covid-19 vaccine at the new vaccination site in the Excelsior District. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken Apr. 7, 2021.

Though San Franciscan teens are vaccinated, many need a boost. 

The majority of San Francisco teens are vaccinated against Covid-19, but skipped the booster, according to data presented at a Latino Task Force meeting Monday. 

Although overall 12 to 17-year-olds report a 90 percent vaccination rate, Black teenagers remain behind, with a 52 percent rate. When it comes to boosters, though, all are behind: Only one-third of youth in that age group received a booster shot.  

Racial disparities deepen amid booster shots, too. While one-third of 12- to 17-year-olds received a booster shot, only 17 percent of Black, 19 percent of Latinx, and 21 percent of Native American adolescents in that age group got boosted. Less than half of Asian and white youth are getting boosted, too; 33 and 47 percent are boosted, respectively.

“The overall uptake of boosters is super low,” said Dr. Lynn Ramirez, the medical director of hospital epidemiology at UCSF’s children’s hospital. “And then when you start looking at the different groups broken down by race and ethnicity, the gap is even more alarming.”

Vaccination rates for children ages 5 to 11 remain especially low in all ethnic groups, except Asians, who report an 81 percent vaccination rate. 

Doctors from the University of California, San Francisco, and the Department of Public Health urged the community to get eligible children and teens boosted, especially as the school district relaxes its masking mandate. The vaccine reduces the risk of contracting covid by 90 percent. 

And, boosters work well against severe effects of covid, such as hospitalization and death, said Dr. Ted Ruel, a UCSF pediatrics professor. Data from 24 states and New York City show about 40,000 kids hospitalized with covid, the UCSF doctor shared Monday. The UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco and Oakland both saw a jump in hospitalizations from mid- to late January as well, when omicron surged. 

Ruel emphasized that there is no data proving that omicron is more severe for children, but “even if it’s milder in kids, any number of kids getting hospitalized is a big deal.”

“There seems to be a group of people who don’t seem interested in getting vaccinated, and that’s across cultures,” said Lupita Franco, the spokeswoman for local clinic Mission Neighborhood Health Center. 

But the center continues to encourage clients to be up to date on their inoculations and strengthen their outreach. The health center has been advertising vaccines for all ages via Spanish radio and flyers, and has extended the clinic’s hours from Tuesdays to Thursdays. 

Health center staff are also calling on adults to give their kids a boost: “Ultimately, the parents influence who gets vaccinated,” Franco said.

The Latino Task Force is doing outreach for its Hub, mobile vaccination clinics and throughout their community networks. This Friday afternoon, from 3:30 to 5:30 at John O’Connell High School, vaccinations and boosters will be given to anyone 5 and older, with a $100 gift card as an incentive.


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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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  1. Hey Hope,

    I couldn’t really, truly understand the study you site beyond the summary and headline though it’s clear the CDC is recommending boosters. Is there hard data about boosters in the younger population in there? I have heard that that data isn’t around or is not totally convincing to all qualified scientists/ doctors in the field. I am genuinely curious and not trolling here.

    I do take issue with your wanting to shut down the conversation, however, by suggesting the Mission Local censor “anti vax” views from the comments. The two posters you refer to take issue with the booster for youngsters, not COVID vaccination with the initial 2 dose series. To label them “antivax” seems questionable but to ask that they and others (even those with more extreme views) be censored seems like you want to win a war rather than find the truth. I think there are people on all sides that do that and I don’t think it’s very helpful or a good way to achieve all of our shared goal of reduced harm from COVID.

    Let me know where I am missing the mark here. I think you, me and the posters mentioned both share the same goals AND are not that far apart on our understanding of vaccine effectiveness. Seems like a solid basis to have an OPEN and productive conversation and exploration of facts around the little we may disagree on. Wouldn’t it be great to have those types of conversations than demand that one or the others of us be prevented from airing our views?

  2. Wow, Mission Local, please don’t let your comments forum turn into a place for antivaxxers to spread vaccine conspiracies and encourage people not to get vaxxed. There is nothing but upside for a 3-shot regimen of shots for adults (and kids). The risks from COVID far outweigh any small risk from the shot and boosted individuals 18 yrs and older. Here is the benefit: The risks from getting COVID, especially when not fully vaxxed include death, hospitalization, long COVID, lung damage, circulations damage, fertility damage for men, risks to pregnant women, and on and on.

    1. Right on, Hope.
      Since the Neolithic Revolution humanity has been wracked by continuous pandemics and seriously nasty endemic diseases.
      Drastically shortening lifespans and contributing to the disintegration of numerous cultures thru massive death cycles.
      It’s only recently we’ve got a grip on the situation and are able to come up with effective strategies to make make our existence a lot less horrific (polio anyone?).
      Thank you science and scientists.
      Yeah there’s been some bumps in the road but the results speak for themselves.
      So – like – stop freakin’ whining and get you shots as soon as you’re due.

    2. Yikes. I posted info that is well documented by reliable sources. That NY Times piece altered the info the CDC was releasing – hardly a superfluous piece of reporting. And the 90% claim is obviously dated.

      You speak to individuals over 18 when this article is focused on 12-17 year olds. This group would have just gotten their second shot in December. Describing it as a “3-shot regimen” doesn’t really portray the 3-4 month interval that the regimen is becoming.

  3. The 90% reduced risk of contraction rate is dated. The two dose vaccine was estimated at 30% – 40% reduction with omicron, and estimated closer to 70% *immediately* after vaccine.

    But the booster wanes quickly and the initial two dose regimen has been shown to provide long lasting effectiveness against serious illness and death (even as ability to prevent infection drops). The other thing is, the CDC won’t release numbers on how effective the booster has been in decreasing odds of serious illness and death for those 49 and under. The benefit is far greater for those over 50, and especially for those over 65. The benefit is negligible for children.

    I’ve had the two dose Moderna and didn’t feel compelled to get the booster. I’m taking an as necessary approach.

    1. As a healthy late 20-something, I was reluctant to get the booster and only did so because my office job required me to in order to go maskless in the office. That requirement disappeared after a month.

      I’ve always wanted to make these decisions based on data and information, and getting the booster just felt bad. I held off until I was basically “required” to by bs local mandates that didn’t last. There isn’t anything that tells me I should get one in my age group other than headlines from news organizations or red herrings like “any number of kids getting hospitalized is a big deal.” Yeah, and? How many kids are really ending up in the hospital from COVID that would have been prevented if they got a booster? Nobody has an answer, and nobody can even guess because that number is likely between 0-10. Until you start actually showing some numbers and evidence, you are going to have a hard telling kids to get the booster because “they should.”