"Today My Future Begins"
Dugoni School holds COVID-19 vaccine event for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 270 individuals receive doses during San Francisco’s first vaccine clinic for people with IDD on March 27.
University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry recently stepped up to organize San Francisco’s first COVID-19 vaccine clinic specifically for a group of often underserved people — individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who live or work in the city.
The March 27 event was one of the first vaccine clinics organized specifically for the IDD community by any dental school in the United States.
First-dose vaccines were administered to 270 people during the clinic held at Pacific’s San Francisco Campus in SoMa.
“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.”
Dugoni School of Dentistry 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.
Faculty and staff from the Special Care Clinic and Hospital Dentistry Program at the Dugoni School were a key to making the event a success.
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. Executive Associate Dean and Professor Ms. Eve Cuny, who has helped lead previous COVID-19 vaccine clinics on campus, is a key liaison with city partners, including the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
“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 Dr. 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!’’’
This is 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, in a recent announcement about city-wide efforts. “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.”