OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Just days before California opens vaccine eligibility to everyone, 16 years and older, Alameda County officials are pleading with federal officials to keep a vaccine mega-site open at the Oakland Coliseum.
The site is set to close this Sunday, but it appears the mega-site will stay open for now thanks, in part, to Vice President Kamala Harris.
Senator Alex Padilla toured the vaccine mega site at the Oakland Coliseum Monday. The site is still giving shots at a rapid pace with more than 200,000 shots given so far.
But FEMA, which operates the site, will abandon it on Sunday, after an eight-week mission.
"Since this site has been successful, why would they stop?" said Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson.
Carson acknowledged that the Coliseum site is a lifeline to many underserved communities, with its easy accessibility.
"BART, major freeway right there, centrally known," Carson said.
It's why Carson and other state and local leaders drafted a letter to FEMA's acting director, asking federal authorities to keep the site running for another four weeks until the county could take it over. FEMA denied the request over the holiday weekend.
Senator Alex Padilla is optimistic about brokering a deal with the federal government, to keep the site running temporarily. How to pay for it is still a big question.
"We don't have a final plan or commitment, but willingness from all parties. We still have a few days to figure it out before Sunday," said Padilla.
"The county is heartened to hear this because there's no way we can take the existing vaccine supply and make up for all the vaccines given here," said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan.
The FEMA vaccine site has been giving 6,000 shots per day and 42,000 shots per week. Compared to all of Alameda County's vaccination sites combined, which provides up to 17,000 shots per week.
Late Monday, Padilla's office confirmed Vice President Kamala Harris said the Oakland site will be extended and stay open. Still no details on who would operate the mega-site or how it will be funded.
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