UCSF Statement on Improving the Equitable Distribution of MPX Vaccines

To Our Bay Area Community,  

We are writing to update you on what UC San Francisco is doing to ensure the equitable distribution of MPX vaccines in the face of ongoing vaccine shortages.

As our society has learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, communities of color are routinely underserved and experience worse health outcomes as a result. With input from our community and the UCSF clinicians who work with them, we have further diversified the ways we distribute the vaccine to increase equitable access for all members of our local communities. 

Over the past few weeks we have taken the following steps, which are modeled after the distribution plan we use successfully with COVID-19 vaccines. Each allotment of the MPX vaccine we receive has been made available on an ongoing basis through the following venues:  

  • UCSF Health continues to welcome people from all backgrounds and communities, and invites them to schedule a vaccination appointment at one of our UCSF locations if they meet the current high-priority criteria established by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. You don’t need to be a UCSF patient to schedule this vaccine at our clinics. 
  • In addition, a share of our vaccine supply will continue to be distributed to Umoja Health (Umoja’s work in San Francisco is done in partnership with the Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness, Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, United in Love and many other local organizations). Umoja Health has leveraged its partnerships to reach members of the communities in the neighborhoods they serve. 
  • We have also incorporated the MPX vaccine into our twice-weekly COVID vaccination events in Tenderloin with Glide and other Tenderloin community-based organizations. 
  • In addition to the above, we are seeking to collaborate with additional community leaders on a series of pop-up and general MPX vaccine events, depending on the availability of vaccine supplies.

We made this change in distribution after one of our patients, a Black man, was initially denied the MPX vaccine last month under the wrong assumption that they had already received a vaccine shot and were ineligible. Although the patient eventually received their vaccination, we are sorry for handling this interaction in a way that made our patient feel unseen, unheard and unwelcomed.  

We acknowledge that because the patient is a Black individual, this incident triggers understandable concerns in our community about how medical institutions have inflicted harm on groups that have been historically marginalized. We are going to use this incident to have further conversations with our healthcare teams on ways we can continue to improve how we deliver compassionate, high-quality care for every patient, every time.

The work to make UCSF Health a more equitable and inclusive organization for all patients and the communities we serve is as important as the clinical expertise and world-class research that drive the delivery of our health care. It is also a work in progress and we appreciate your input, partnership and your support as we improve our capacity for success in this important effort.  
Suresh Gunasekaran
President & CEO
UCSF Health
Renée Navarro, PharmD, MD
Vice Chancellor
Chief Diversity and Outreach Officer
Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care