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SF Mayor Breed: Vaccines Should ‘Focus On’ Hard-Hit Latino Community

When the COVID-19 vaccine begins to be widely distributed San Francisco’s Latinx community should be prioritized.

That’s according to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who relayed her thinking on vaccine prioritization to KQED Newsroom on Friday.

“Just think about it, in San Francisco, the Latino population has been the most impacted,” Breed said. “And in my own personal opinion and what I am going to, of course, push for when we start to distribute the vaccine on a wider scale is that we start to focus on this particular community because they’ve been disproportionately impacted.”

No matter what happens, she said, “it is hard decisions that need to be made around the distribution of the vaccine.”

The Latinx community makes up 50% percent of reported cases of COVID-19 in San Francisco despite being just 15% of the city’s population, according to the Department of Public Health. Breed announced $28 million in expanded COVID-19 support for the Latinx community in September.

Jon Jacobo,  health chair of the Latino Task Force, praised Breed’s comments, while also calling for more education resources for his community.

“At least Mayor Breed is prioritizing the need for the Latino community, and recognizing the pain of this community, and I appreciate that level of urgency,” Jacobo said.

But, he added, there needs to be culturally competent information regarding the vaccine available to the Latino community. He thinks that’s a key component to allowing the community to make its own decisions about whether to take the vaccine.

“There’s a lot of mistrust that exists, rightfully so, even in terms of the Tuskegee experiments, things that happened in Guatemala or Puerto Rico, there’s been outright abuse and cruelty to these communities,” he said.

The most marginalized communities need a space to ask all the questions they may have to make an informed decision, he said.

— Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (@FitztheReporter), Kate Wolffe (@katewolffe) and KQED Newsroom

Copyright 2020 KQED