Credit: University of California

All of us have a role to play in bringing the pandemic to an end. UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., explains why the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way we can protect ourselves and the people we love.

On a recent sunny Sunday, University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., was in San Francisco’s Mission District, returning to his medical roots to give COVID-19 vaccinations at a community clinic.

President Drake talks to a man about to receive the vaccine, woman nurse behind him
President Drake speaks to a man preparing for his vaccine at the community hub.
Credit: University of California

“I think it’s important for all of us to do what we can to help get our communities vaccinated to protect us from this virus, so we can get over this pandemic and back to our regular lives,” Drake said during a break in administering shots at a community vaccine hub on 24th and Capp streets.

The site is the first of what will become a network of City-operated community vaccination sites set up to bring vaccines to the neighborhoods — including the Bayview, Excelsior and Visitacion Valley — with the highest infection rates for COVID-19 and limited access to health care services.

Drake worked alongside other volunteers, including members of UC San Francisco faculty, members of Unidos en Salud/United in Health, the Latino Task Force and workers from the San Francisco city government.

UC’s president is also taking to the airwaves to get his message across. In a video released March 2, he encourages everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

“I’m here to reassure you that the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective,” Drake says in his public service announcement. “All of us have a role to play in bringing the pandemic to an end. As a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a doctor, I got vaccinated to keep my family and my community safe.”

President Drake chats with UCSF’s Diane Havlir, M.D., one of the leaders of the hub effort
President Drake chatting with UCSF’s Diane Havlir, M.D., who helped create Unidos en Salud with the Latino Task Force. Havlir is studying the path of the virus through the community by identifying evolving strains and hopes to understand what public health measures would be most effective for working people, who are being exposed both on the job and in crowded living conditions at home.
Credit: University of California

Drake’s work at the vaccine site and the public service announcement video are intended to raise awareness among communities of color, who continue to see higher COVID-19 test positivity rates and deaths from the virus. In the video, he shares information about the vaccine’s efficacy and underscores that getting immunized provides personal protection, but also helps the well-being of all of our communities.

UCSF has been collaborating throughout the pandemic with Unidos en Salud/United in Health and the Latino Task Force, along with the city of San Francisco, in providing health services and rapid testing to the Mission District. The Mission District has been among the neighborhoods most deeply affected by the coronavirus, as it is home to many essential workers, particularly Latinos, who lack consistent access to health care.

The vaccine is one crucial step to keeping families, communities and individuals safe. The vaccines being offered by health care providers have undergone rigorous review by federal public health authorities as well as an extra evaluation through the Western States Scientific Safety Review Group, which includes a number of UC clinical experts. The university also encourages vaccinated community members to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing and good hygiene, as they may still be able to spread the virus.

UC encourages everyone who meets the criteria for immunization to receive a vaccine when they are able based on guidance from the California Department of Public Health. Visit their website to learn more about your present or future eligibility and vaccination sites near you.