SF State hosts first rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations

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Sebastian Mino-Bucheli

SF State is one of the CSUs able to host as a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site for ages 65 years and older. San Francisco Department of Public Health, in conjunction with Safeway Pharmacy, spearheaded the rollout by providing vaccine doses and medical personnel. Seniors, students and faculty lined up at 8 a.m. at Mashouf Wellness center. (Photo by Sebastian Mino-Bucheli / Golden Gate Xpress)

On Wednesday at 8 a.m., the sun was fighting to break through SF State’s typically overcast sky. A single-file, socially-distanced line of about 20 people started at the front door of the Mashouf Wellness Center. 

Through the doorway and into the gymnasium, a man sat on a folding chair as he waited for student volunteers and San Francisco Department of Public Health officials to assist him. The line, which stretched to the sidewalk of Font Boulevard, comprised individuals of age 65 and older, all waiting to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination.

SF State began hosting a vaccination site on campus starting Wednesday, Feb. 3  as part of a community effort with the SFDPH and Safeway Inc. SFDPH aims to provide up to 300 vaccinations a day, according to Student Affairs & Enrollment Management Associate Vice President Gene Chelberg. 

“I feel great that the university was able to provide this service to the community,” said Noriko Lim-Tepper, interim chief of staff to the president of SF State. Lim-Tepper assisted in checking people in as they waited in line. “And I’m really hopeful that with this site, we’ll be able to serve a lot more people in the next month for the west side of San Francisco.”

According to SFDPH, California began vaccinating individuals 65 and older on Jan. 13, and estimated that 8.5 million people will be vaccinated during this phase. Next in line for the vaccine will be tier 1C, which opens up vaccinations to the rest of the general public. Dr. Anthony Fauci said in December that he anticipates this to occur in late-April or early-May.

Yuki Goto, a professor of theatre arts at SF State, received his first vaccine shot on Wednesday.  Now, Goto must wait exactly 21 days before getting his second dose.

I’m relieved! Now I’m waiting for my second shot.”

— Yuki Goto

“I’m relieved! Now I’m waiting for my second shot,” Goto said.

According to the city and county of San Francisco, all residents can receive notifications for when it is their turn to get vaccinated.

Shae Hancock, chief of operations at SF State, walked through the queue with forms and pens as she checked guests into their appointments. She said it’s been a fantastic opportunity to help the community. 

“It’s been really inspiring to see the students who want to participate and the staff members who aren’t necessarily eligible yet, but still want to help our community,” Hancock said. “And it just goes to show how important SF State is to our community.”

As of Tuesday, San Francisco has administered 116,059 doses. According to the city’s website, the general public will not have access to the vaccine until later 2021. 

“I’m eager for life to get back to some sense of normalcy,” Hancock said. “And this is one step. I’m happy to be a part of the process for this particular age group. I mean, I have grandparents in a different city, but I’m happy to be able to help people.”