Uncertain future for Oakland Coliseum mass vaccination site as closure looms

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has set April 11th as the date it will close its massive Oakland and Los Angeles COVID-19 inoculation sites. That's a loss since so much more is still to be done despite increased supplies and non-FEMA sites such as pharmacies. In a word, Senators Diane Feinstein and Alex Padilla want assurances that if the state has to take over operations of the two sites, they want some solid assurance.

From the beginning, the Oakland Coliseum and Los Angeles FEMA sites were unique because supply was not a problem. That vaccine is not part of the state's normal allocation. It's above and beyond that. So, it won't impact vaccine going to the counties toward other requirements," Acting Fema Administrator Bob Fenton told KTVU on February 15th.

In a letter to FEMA, Senators Diane Feinstein and Alex Padilla asked that the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services as well as Alameda and Los Angeles County assume control of the two inoculation sites. But, they want to assure that the sites have the necessary "financial and logistical support so they can take over operations, and that the federal government continues to send the sites direct shipments of vaccine doses." That said, the Senators also reminded FEMA that the purpose of the two sights have been carried out to their original intent very well, but still have more work to do to fulfill it, saying, "These sites are succeeding in reducing racial disparities in "

In the last six weeks, the two sites have administered more than a half million doses and folks over age 16 will be eligible to be vaccinated as of April 15th. "It would be, you know, our desire to expand this out to a broader audience in more counties," said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

If retained, it's not known if the Oakland site would be available just for Alameda County residents or Bay Area wide.