Oakland is 1 of 3 cities to receive extra monkeypox vaccines for distribution at Pride events
Federal officials announced they are shipping thousands of additional monkeypox or m-pox vaccine doses to Pride festivals to help reduce infections.
Oakland is on the list to receive the additional shipment. The city plans to kick off its September Pride celebrations with a Trans March and Pride day at the Oakland Roots soccer team game Saturday.
Then, there will be a return of the Pride Parade on Sunday morning after it being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said he plans to send extra shipments of the mpox vaccine to Pride events in New Orleans and Atlanta in addition to Oakland.
"We are going to be providing monkeypox vaccines on site, so that's something that's free for people to take advantage of. We're encouraging everybody that can, to do that. It's important that we all take individual steps to protect ourselves and protect our community," said Ari Curry, Director of Oakland Pride 2022.
Curry, who was born and raised in Oakland, says he has already received the mpox vaccine.
"I got my vaccine, it would have been last Friday. It was quick easy, really simple," said Curry.
Pride organizers say they are looking forward to bringing people together in person again. They say they are trying to make sure the events are safe and healthy celebrations.
"I am extremely excited. It's something the community has been waiting for, for a long time," said Curry, who says there will be a gathering before Sunday's parade. "We're going to have a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m.right here at city hall put on by our local fire department."
The Pride Parade is scheduled to leave City Hall at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and roll down Broadway to the festival site on 20th Avenue.
"There will be music, fun, and dancing," said Curry.
On Saturday, the Oakland Roots soccer team will host a Pride night with a march past Lake Merritt to the game at 7p.m. at Laney College.
Oakland will receive an additional 2,400 mpox vaccine doses for distribution. It's something the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center says is much needed. The center has seen huge demand for the vaccine since shots began at the end of July.
"Our clinic had a 289% increase in visits because of monkeypox," said Joe Hawkins, CEO & Co-Founder of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, which is celebrating its fifth year serving the community. "We actually received an alert today that second doses will be coming soon, so everyone get ready and we will be getting those in arms soon," said Hawkins.
Hawkins says the additional federal vaccines will be a big help in reaching more people.
"Both pride events will have pod sites for vaccination for monkeypox so they can get it at any of the pride events coming up in the next two weeks," said Hawkins.
Organizers say the vaccines are free.
"Encouraging everybody that can, to do that. It's important that we all take individual steps to protect ourselves and protect our community," said Curry.
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.