Equity to drive allocation among county’s newly eligible seniors and essential workers

County of Alameda logoAlameda County officials lauded Governor Newsom’s announcement today that the State of California will partner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to launch a mega vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum.

Expected to launch on February 16, the Oakland Coliseum site will augment the County’s capacity for vaccination.

“This additional resource and infusion of vaccine is much needed in our community and will help us to reach more people more quickly,” said Colleen Chawla, Director of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency (HCSA). “We look forward to working with the site team to support outreach, education and access for our highest risk communities.”

Alameda County also announced it will offer vaccines to individuals identified as eligible in California’s Phase 1b Tier 1 starting the week of February 8th. This includes people aged 65+ and essential workers in food & agriculture, emergency services, and education & childcare sectors. This tier encompasses roughly 325,000 additional Alameda County residents.

Governor Newsom acknowledged Alameda County’s vaccination efforts in his remarks today, “for their excellence, when we look county by county, all 58 counties here in the state of CA, one county stands out in terms of their speed to administration, taking vaccines and getting people vaccinated, and that’s Alameda County, want to just recognize their partnership, their stewardship to the cause that unites us here today.”

“We’ve made great progress on vaccinating health care workers in Phase 1a and are happy to be moving forward with Phase 1b,” said Dr. Kathleen Clanon, HCSA’s Medical Director and the County’s lead on vaccine planning. “Our strategy is to reach people who are at highest risk for severe illness and people who are at high risk for transmission because of where they live or work.”

Within this newly eligible population, vaccine distribution through Alameda County Points of Dispensing (PODs) will be prioritized for individuals from communities with disproportionally high COVID case rates and those who are older, disabled, uninsured, or facing high risk of exposure because of where they live or work. The County will rely on state guidance to specify who is eligible for Phase 1b.

“We are being deliberate in how we serve the communities that have been hardest hit while we prepare for broader distribution when vaccine supplies increase,” said Kimi Watkins-Tartt, HCSA’s Public Health Director. “Equity is front and center in Alameda County and having community-based sites is key for protecting our most vulnerable elders and essential workers,” she added.

As newly eligible Alameda County residents over the age of 65 and essential workers in Phase 1b seek access to the vaccine, HCSA encourages residents to:

  • Contact their health care provider – Members or patients of Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and Stanford Health Care are encouraged to seek the vaccine first through their health care provider. Kaiser and Sutter receive their own distribution of the vaccine directly from the state. The County also shares its vaccine allocation with eight federally qualified health centers and two community health centers.
  • Look for outreach via their employer and/or community organizations – Alameda County is working with employers and local community groups to issue invitations directly to high-risk workers and communities.
  • Sign up to get notification when it’s their turn for vaccine – Visit our website to register for vaccine eligibility notification.

“While we work to vaccinate County residents, we urge everyone to continue the other measures proven slow the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks and practicing physical distancing,” Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County Health Officer said. “These simple strategies are the best way for people to remain safe and to protect their loved ones and co-workers until more people are vaccinated.”

Background on Distribution of the Vaccine

Alameda County community PODs are being launched in locations across the county. The first of multiple community vaccination sites in high-priority neighborhoods will open in the Fruitvale on February 4th. For the community PODs the County places a high emphasis on hyper local outreach, ensuring cultural and linguistic competency, and creating a welcoming environment. Additional locations are anticipated in the coming weeks.

In the coming weeks, the County will also support vaccination for staff and incarcerated persons at Santa Rita jail, as well as emergency service employees and non-medical first responders. Educators and child care providers will be offered vaccine through specialized PODs, their health care provider, or community PODs.

Like other jurisdictions, Alameda County has insufficient vaccine supply and anticipates that it could take several months to get through Phase 1b Tier 1. The addition of the Coliseum site increases the County’s capacity and provides an accessible site in the heart of an area heavily impacted by COVID-19. Details regarding how to make appointments will be available in the coming days.

In the meantime, all county residents are encouraged to practice behaviors to help slow the spread of the virus.

For more information, please visit https://covid-19.acgov.org/vaccines