SEIU 1021 joins Sen. Alex Padilla at a press conference calling for a robust response to the growing monkeypox outbreak
On Thursday, August 25, SEIU 1021 joined US Senator Alex Padilla and San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, along with officials from the California Department of Public Health and San Francisco Department of Public Health, at a press conference to discuss the growing monkeypox outbreak.
Padilla toured San Francisco’s main monkeypox vaccine site at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital as California surpasses 3,000 cases statewide. After the tour, local and state leaders advocated for additional vaccines and equitable distribution throughout California.
“One of the lessons we learned from the COVID pandemic was that a sustained period of limited vaccine availability early in a public health crisis is a recipe for disaster,” said Senator Padilla. “But, unlike COVID, we already have an approved vaccine ready to deploy against monkeypox. That is why I’ve called on HHS and the CDC to ramp up their efforts to increase vaccine access, and I’ll continue working to ensure that all resources from the federal government are equitably distributed to all corners of California.”
SEIU 1021’s new Vice President of San Francisco Kristin Hardy, who was appointed to succeed Theresa Rutherford when she became local-wide president, spoke at the event as well. Kristin is the birth and death clerk at San Francisco General Hospital.
“As union members, we have a role to play to collectively advocate for safety, justice, and equity. We fight for these principles for the patients we care for, but also for our communities as a whole,” said Kristin. “We echo calls for a robust response at all levels of government to keep workers, our patients, and our families safe.”
In addition to underlining the importance of expanding vaccine access and ensuring distribution of the vaccine is done in an equitable way, Kristin also called for a robust and collaborative response to this growing crisis from all levels of government. “We can work together to make sure we have a plan and the resources needed to ensure adequate access, outreach, and education around prevention and vaccines,” Kristin remarked.
Finally, Kristin highlighted the importance of safe staffing in ensuring a strong and thorough response to the virus’s spread through our communities: “SEIU 1021 members are essential. We’re the healthcare workers operating vaccine clinics, working at the bedside, and doing the day-to-day work to keep our healthcare system operating. We work in every corner of the Department of Public Health. We are there every day to serve the patients who rely on us...Maintaining safe staffing levels across the entire healthcare team is a necessary step to make sure we can quickly respond to ongoing public health concerns and be there when San Franciscans need us.”
Other speakers at last Thursday’s press conference included:
- Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, D8
- Dr. Erica Pan, California State Epidemiologist at the CA Department of Public Health
- Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the SF Department of Public Health
- Dr. Tyler TerMeer, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation