OAKLAND, Calif. - The change Monday at the Oakland Coliseum was imperceptible. A few hundred people were lined up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. But Contra Costa and Alameda counties, along with the state, are now running this facility.
Since February, the federal government had been overseeing innoculations at this mega-vaccination site.
"We’ve been working with the other counties since the beginning of this," said Kim McCarl, a spokeswoman for Contra Costa County Health Services. "We’re quite versed in regional projects and working together. We haven’t had any challenges yet."
McCarl said the site will be able to vaccinate upwards of 6,000 people per day. Another 5,000 people can get inoculated through the use of mobile vaccination clinics that’ll target underserved East Bay communities.
For weeks, many residents around the Bay have complained of a feast or famine circumstance when tracking down vaccine availability.
"Currently, there’s opening in some places and shortages in others. If we have one central place where key people are talking to each other, it can really relieve the bottlenecks that we’re seeing," said Dr. Marcelle Dougan, an assistant professor in the San Jose State University Dept. of Public Health & Recreation.
Over the weekend of April 10 - 11, Alameda County lowered the age of eligibility from 50 and older, to 16 and older. Contra Costa County had taken this action a week earlier, and well ahead of the state’s April 15 deadline.
"The more people have to pay attention to who is or who is not eligible the more confusing it gets. And people who might not have direct access to information and technology might not chose to try to determine if they have eligibility. So opening to 16 and above was really an equity issue for us," said McCarl.
The State of California is providing half the weekly vaccine allotment. The burden of the remaining half is equally shared between Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
"The key is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible," said Dr. Dougan.
The Coliseum site is open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, through the first full week of May.