The University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry held San Francisco’s first COVID-19 vaccine clinic specifically for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who live and work in the city.
The March 27 event also was among the first COVID-19 vaccine clinics organized specifically for the IDD community by any dental school in the United States. During the clinic, held at the school’s San Francisco campus in SoMa, 270 people received their first dose of the vaccine.
The school worked with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability, Golden Gate Regional Center, Special Olympics Northern California, the Arc San Francisco, and San Francisco Department of Public Health to reach out to adult individuals with IDD who qualify for vaccines.
The clinic also received generous support and supplies from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, the school said. Faculty and staff from the Special Care Clinic and Hospital Dentistry Program at the Dugoni School were key to making the event a success as well, the school said.
Dr. Allen Wong, director of the Hospital Dentistry Program and professor and director of the AEGD Program at the Dugoni School, partnered with his contacts throughout the region who serve the IDD community.
Eve Cuny, executive associate dean and professor, has helped lead previous COVID-19 vaccine clinics on campus and is a key liaison with city partners, including the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the school said.
“One of the parents wrote that her adult child who really wanted to have the vaccine tried a drive-by vaccination clinic earlier and was unsuccessful,” said Wong.
“They were successful today and appreciated how we delivered the care in a caring and efficient manner. She relayed her child’s words, which could not be said better: ‘Today, my future begins!’” said Wong.
“The values and purpose of the Dugoni School of Dentistry were on full display this weekend,” said Dr. Nader A. Nadershahi, dean of the school.
“It was amazing to hear and read the messages of gratitude from the attendees for the kindness, calm, professionalism, and care displayed by all of our volunteers,” Nadershahi said.
It was the first weekend of an ongoing targeted effort across San Francisco to reach people with disabilities.
“From the very beginning, our vaccine distribution has been focused on reaching our communities that have been hit hardest,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
“We know that means meeting people where they are and making vaccines not only available, but also easy to access. Our community clinics and mobile vaccination teams are a critical part of that effort,” Breed said.