COVID-19 Science and Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Last updated Aug. 2, 2021

Can my child get vaccinated?

Anyone 12 and older is now eligible to get vaccinated in San Francisco. At this time only Pfizer is approved for those ages 12 to 18 years of age so be sure the location where you go has Pfizer. People under 18 need permission from a parent or guardian to be vaccinated, except under certain limited circumstances. 

Why shouldn't I wait for the vaccines to be fully approved by the FDA before I get it?

Waiting to get vaccinated increases the risk of contracting COVD-19, which can sometimes have serious consequence. The FDA has regulatory processes in place to facilitate the development of COVID-19 vaccines that meet the FDA's rigorous scientific standards. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for three COVID-19 vaccines. More vaccines may be authorized. At this time, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for minors. 

Where can I go to get more information or to make an appointment for a vaccine?

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco from sf.gov/covidvaccine. Visit SFUSD's COVID-19 vaccine webpage sfusd.edu/covidvaccine for a calendar of vacciantion events, which vaccines are offered at each site, and latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines.

Will vaccinated people need a booster?

We do not yet know whether either adults or children will need a booster. For latest information related to COVID-19 vaccines, visit sf.gov/covidvaccine.

I have children who are not eligible for vaccines yet. Does that mean they are exposed to additional risks by going back to school?

Data show that the risk of COVID-19 transmission among children at school is extremely low—even before vaccines were available for children or adults. When SFUSD was reopened in Spring 2021, we had zero positive cases that were known to be a result of school-based transmission. All students are encouraged to return unless they have a medical reason not to. In-person learning provides the best mode of instruction. Discuss with your pediatrician if you are concerned about risks associated with COVID-19 transmission.

When will vaccines be available for children under 12?

Vaccines are not yet available for children under 12. Pfizer plans to request emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 in September or October. The vaccine is currently authorized for ages 12 and older. Pfizer is now conducting clinical trials in children ages 6 months to 11 years, and the data should be ready to submit to the FDA in the next few months. SFUSD will continue to work with health and community partners to make vaccines accessible and available to anyone who is eligible. 

How effective is the Pfizer vaccination against the Delta variant?

Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. According to the CDC, studies suggest that the current authorized vaccines work on the circulating variants. Scientists will continue to study these and other variants. More information can be found at the CDC's website on COVID-19 variants

Can vaccinated people contract and transmit the Delta variant of COVID-19?

Vaccinated people can contract COVID-19 variants, including the delta variant, and pass them to unvaccinated people. However, being vaccinated can reduce the severity of symptoms and risk of hospitalization to prevent deaths due to COVID-19. Up to date information and health directives can be found on the San Francisco Department of Public Health's COVID-19 website

COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

Last updated Aug. 5, 2021

What is the vaccination policy for students?

SFUSD highly encourages anyone who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated before school starts, and is partnering with healthcare and community providers to make vaccines accessible and free for SFUSD families. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco at sf.gov/covidvaccine. Visit SFUSD's COVID-19 vaccine webpage for a calendar of vaccination events, which vaccines are offered at each site, and the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines. 

What is the vaccination policy for staff and teachers?

SFUSD is requiring all staff to report their vaccination status. The district is actively promoting all eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated and is partnering with healthcare and community providers to make vaccines accessible and free for SFUSD staff and families. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco at sf.gov/covidvaccine. Visit SFUSD's COVID-19 vaccine webpage for a calendar of vaccination events, which vaccines are offered at each site, and the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines. 

COVID-19 Science

Last updated Aug. 2, 2021

How does the Delta variant spread, and is it safe to return given the increase in reported tramission from the variant?

As with other COVID-19 variants, it spreads primarily through airborne droplets. Though the Delta variant is on the rise, masking and vaccination greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

If I have young children who are not yet able to be vaccinated, can they safely return given the increase in Delta variant transmission?

Yes, particularly with preventive strategies like vaccinations for those 12 years of age and up and continued masking. There is currently no evidence that the Delta variant causes more severe disease or more hospitalizations in children compared to other COVID variants. 

I am concerned about community spread and transmission through schools because I live in an SRO--what are the risks and prevention mechanisms?

Get vaccinated if you are eligible, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, and follow the protocols in the SRO that you live in.