Oakland church teams up with Kaiser to administer vaccines to children

COVID-19 cases are climbing just as students are preparing to head back to the classroom.

That’s making back-to-school preparations a bit different for some parents and students.

Typically, those preparations include doing some shopping for clothes and supplies.

But COVID-19, and the Delta variant in particular, is motivating some people to add something extra to their "to do" list.

The parking lot of Beebe Memorial CME Cathedral on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland played host to an event that was both a bit of give and take.

The Church’s reverend partnered with Kaiser Permanente and nonprofits to help give vaccines to any takers, with a particular focus on kids.

"This grew out of not only a great need, but to reach our young people.  We know there’s a large number of young people who are not vaccinated yet," said Reverend Dr. Charley Hames Jr. of Beebe Memorial CMD Cathedral.

That’s especially true in underserved communities of color, where experts say misinformation has led to distrust about COVID-19 vaccines.

It was no accident there were nurses and doctors of color available to answer questions.

One woman said she needed assurance COVID-19 vaccines were safe for her daughter who has allergies.

"I’ve been talking to the doctors and nurses and friends and now I have the confidence for her to get the vaccine," said Mareme Sambndiaye of Oakland.

12-year-old Aida Ndiaye, who goes to school in Oakland, got her shot, and says vaccination has become a topic amongst friends.

"It’s like, are you vaccinated?  Or, what vaccine did you get?  Where did you get vaccinated, you know?"

Another vaccine recipient, 12-year-old Brianna, can tell her friends she got her dose at the clinic, when she returns to middle school in Albany mid-August.

Vaccinated or not, people were treated to free backpacks, filled with school supplies, thanks to the Kerosene Lamp Foundation, started by a former Golden State Warrior.

"Really what we want, more than anything else is just for young people to feel like, no matter where you come from, you have everything you need like everybody else to start school on the right note," said Adonal Foyle, former NBA player and founder of The Kerosene Lamp Foundation.

California will require students and adults to wear masks inside school buildings.

While the vaccine is an optional additional layer of protection for those 12 and older, with the Delta variant causing a rise in cases, hospitalizations and death, some doctors say it’s an option more are exploring.

"I think for those reasons we are getting more people who are at least willing to have this discussion with us today to help answer questions, to help people to make that decision," said primary care physician, Dr. Nailah Thompson.

Organizers say they had more than 240 people pre-register for the event.