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COVID-19 Vaccination Site Comes to The Tenderloin

After a successful pilot on Thursday, March 25, 2021, a neighborhood COVID-19 vaccination site will now be a part of the critical resources offered through the Tenderloin Community Resource Hub (TL Hub) that GLIDE coordinates weekly on the 300 block of Ellis Street (between Taylor and Jones Streets). The vaccination site grew out of a collaboration between GLIDE, the City of San Francisco, and leading community partners.

“GLIDE is tremendously proud of our partnership with the University of California, San Francisco’s Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative (BHHI), Life Sciences Cares-Bay Area, San Francisco Community Health Center (SFCHC), and San Francisco’s Department of Public Health (DPH),” said GLIDE President and CEO Karen Hanrahan. “Together we are reducing barriers to vaccine access and serving some of the most marginalized people in San Francisco.” 

“There are significant challenges in providing access to COVID vaccinations to the housed and unhoused residents of the Tenderloin,” added Hanrahan. “Bringing a weekly neighborhood vaccination site to the Tenderloin is an absolute accomplishment.”  

Expanding access to vaccines is critical. According to a  recent report from the DPH, just under six percent of Tenderloin residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine from the agency. “Ensuring equity and access to COVID-19 vaccines for Tenderloin community members is a priority for GLIDE,” said Senior Director of Programs Kenneth Kim. “A neighborhood vaccination site will bring a sense of safety and relief to the community, especially for those who want to get vaccinated. I think that is exactly what we should be doing for communities like the Tenderloin.”  

The trial vaccination site operated similarly to the COVID-19 testing site GLIDE started in early July 2020. During its proof-of-concept phase, the site provided Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine to TL community members. The J&J vaccine is the third COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in adults in the U.S. and has demonstrated 100% efficacy in preventing severe illness and death. In addition to observing community members after their vaccinations, GLIDE staff and their health access partners focused on line management, registration, demographics, and check-in times, with the goal to scale up to 800-1000 vaccinations per week. 

Kim is very optimistic about the new vaccination site for the TL Hub, not only because of the equitable access it provides but also because of the opportunities to engage with residents unsure about getting the vaccine.  

“Just a few minutes ago, I was talking to an individual who was ambivalent about getting the shot, and we talked about their concerns. What was it they needed to know to be able to make a decision? We don’t want to coerce anyone,” Kim said. “But, in the case where someone is ambivalent, and the opportunity is right there in front of them, and they are qualified to get the vaccine currently, after they hear more, and understand the benefits about the vaccine, they’re going consider it. And so, it was great to hear that person say, ‘All right, I’m going to come back and get my shot.’” 

For more information about the TL Hub, visit glide.org/hub.