SF organization stresses importance of 2nd vaccine shot they say many don't come back for

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area organization is facing a unique challenge when it comes to battling COVID-19.

"We've had a lot of people pass away, a lot of people get ill, a lot of people still in hospital," said Nic Lee with the Rafiki Coalition for Health & Wellness, which is working to reduce health inequities in San Francisco's Black community.

"The community is on high alert and they have been showing up in droves since the Delta variant's exposure has heightened over the last week or so," Lee said.

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Lee says there's been a 40% increase in testing at their Bayview site this week, but says the turnout is not the same for vaccines.

"Getting you to come get tested is one step, getting you to get vaccinated is another, getting you to get your second dose has become its own barrier," he explained. "Whether it's because of the side effects from the first, or a lot of individuals just feel like they're already vaccinated, they feel like all they need is one shot and they're good to go."

Public health and vaccine experts have long emphasized the importance of a full vaccine course, but a newly published study out of Stanford quantifies just how important that second mRNA vaccine shot is when it comes to fighting off COVID-19.

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"What we know about the second shot, is that there is a 100-fold greater innate response compared to the response after the initial immunization," said Dr. Bali Pulendran, a Stanford pathology, microbiology and immunology professor. He is one of the authors of the study, which took a detailed look at the Pfizer vaccine.

"When you get the second dose of the mRNA vaccine, your immune cells remembered its previous encounter with that very same vaccine," said Pulendran, who explained, "as with anything, practice makes perfect. If you have a second piano lesson, you become a better piano player, it's exactly like that."

Rafiki Coalition is hoping to share that message in community.

"We will be roaming the streets with nurses, offering vaccinations to people right where they are," said Lee. He expects the program to launch in the next two to three weeks.


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