Kaiser Permanente San Francisco and South San Francisco Help Fund Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines in Communities of Color

South San Francisco, CA  June 28, 2021  Submitted by Matt Skryja, Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente San Francisco and South San Francisco Provide Equitable Access to Covid-19 Vaccines in Communities of Color and Those Disproportionately Affected by the Pandemic 

Partnerships with community and government organizations support the equitable distribution of the vaccine by removing barriers in the communities we serve


Kaiser Permanente San Francisco and South San Francisco are increasing access to the COVID-19 vaccine through key partnerships with local community and government organizations as part of an effort to vaccinate priority populations and those most affected by the pandemic.


By working to remove barriers to vaccinations, Kaiser Permanente San Francisco and South San Francisco are helping to ensure people have convenient access to the vaccine, particularly within neighborhoods and underserved communities. Kaiser Permanente is providing strategic support to community clinics to increase vaccination rates and is enlisting trusted messengers in the community to deliver information about vaccine safety and effectiveness. Kaiser Permanente physician experts are also speaking to community groups to build confidence in the vaccine and address vaccination equity gaps.


Kaiser Permanente has invested $5 million in Northern California to support the equitable roll out of vaccine in the communities we serve. In the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco and South San Francisco area, nearly $265,000 is supporting the following vaccination efforts:


  • GLIDE Foundation – An organization focused on providing meals, access to housing, healthcare, and other vital services to those in need in San Francisco, GLIDE will work with key community-based nonprofits on 10 pop-up vaccine clinics in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Funds will be used to provide culturally competent services and infrastructure at mobile or pop-up vaccination sites complimented by targeted community outreach.
  • San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) – Dedicated to promoting health, wellness, and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV, SFAF will conduct vaccination outreach using ethnic specific messaging at community events in collaboration with the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center during Oakland Pride month and San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair. The foundation also will offer single-dose vaccines at pop-up or mobile vaccination clinics for people experiencing homelessness at its San Francisco Harm Reduction Center.
  • Mission Language Vocational School (Latino Task Force) – Focused on improving the socio-economic condition of limited or non-English speaking, low and moderate-income Latinx members of the community and other underserved populations in San Francisco and the Bay Area, this organization will support vaccine education efforts. This includes a strategic marketing campaign using science-based, concrete, and persuasive information that will direct Latinx community members to a vaccine site. Outreach will be conducted in Spanish and will encourage schools, city departments, and community centers to participate in the vaccine campaign.
  • City of South San Francisco – With a focus on enhancing the community’s quality of life, the South San Francisco COVID-19 Neighborhood Vaccination Clinics will target the city’s two lowest income census tracts, which are predominately Latinx and Asian/Pacific Islander. The city will hire trusted multilingual community partners to help with translation services and promote COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy.


“Thanks to Kaiser Permanente’s grant to support vaccine access and equity, GLIDE is able to better reach diverse groups of high-risk and vulnerable populations residing in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco,” said Lillian Mark, senior director of programs at GLIDE. “As the vaccination landscape continues to shift in the Tenderloin, we are building different approaches to respond, including roving vaccination teams, an additional satellite vaccination site, and targeted vaccine events. Funds from this grant are key in helping outreach efforts and in securing vaccination supplies and additional staff.”


White and higher-income Americans are more likely to have received a vaccine than African American, Latinx, and lower-income groups.


A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (no affiliation with Kaiser Permanente) found one-third of unvaccinated Latinx adults say they want a vaccine as soon as possible, about twice as many as unvaccinated Black and White adults. However, members of the Latinx community also report more barriers to getting vaccinated including fears about missing work, not being able to get the vaccine from a trusted place or difficulty traveling to a vaccination site.


Kaiser Permanente Northern California is committed to increasing vaccination rates by hosting town halls to dispel vaccine myths and educate the community on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, working with faith-based organizations to raise awareness about the vaccine and to provide access to vaccinations in homeless encampments, hard-to-reach neighborhoods and senior populations with barriers to getting vaccinated.

Kaiser Permanente’s approach to the allocation of COVID-19 vaccine is consistent with the organization’s strong legacy of championing diversity, equity, and inclusion.


“We are committed to removing barriers to vaccination, so everyone has access to the vaccine in a timely manner,” said Ron Groepper, senior VP and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Greater San Francisco Area. “We are proud to be working with our community partners to focus on the equitable distribution of the vaccine, so that together we can bring this pandemic to an end.”


About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.

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