FEMA to vaccinate 6,000 people, 7 days a week with help of Oakland Coliseum site

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- In the war against COVID-19, FEMA is deploying its active duty service members this month.

"We are going to draw on a variety of agencies to bring vaccination staff, medical personnel, and then support staff," said David Passey, Director of External Affairs, FEMA Region 9.

FEMA's plan is to open a mass vaccination site in the Oakland Coliseum and a second site on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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As to Why FEMA chose Oakland, Passey says it worked on this decision with the state.

"Several factors that were important in determining Oakland. One, a large eligible population, and also looking at communities that needed the vaccine. We're very concerned about making sure that hard-hit communities that are sometimes underserved with health resources have access to this vaccine," said Passey.

FEMA's goal is to vaccinate 6,000 people, 7 days a week. Passey says their doses will come from the federal government and not from Alameda County's allotment.

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In order to achieve Governor Newsom's goal of vaccinating one million additional people by this weekend, mass vaccination sites are opening up at stadiums and fairgrounds around California.

2.6 miles from the Oakland Coliseum is the Fruitvale District, one of Oakland's COVID-19 hotspots.

"February 16th the Coliseum opens up and you can drive in or walk in. Fremont High School opens up next week. La Clinica we're going to go from the current site to one of the schools that allows for indoor and outdoor," said Noel Gallo, Oakland Councilmember.

Councilmember Gallo says normalizing COVID-19 testing helped reduce vaccine hesitancy among Latinos and Blacks.

"Our neighborhood is willing and ready by the emails that I get and by the phone calls and by people showing up to the testing sites," said Gallo.

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U.S Representative Barbara Lee believes Vice President Kamala Harris pushed for Oakland to be among the first FEMA sites, "I know Vice President Harris well and I'm confident that she weighed in. I've been working with the White House and we've being working on legislation to really target these resources. As I always say... the East Bay is in the White House," said Rep. Lee.

With more than 75,000 COVID-19 cases in Alameda County, Representative Lee is now pushing for more FEMA vaccination sites.

"We should have these vaccination sites throughout the entire state. People in rural communities need a heck of a lot of help," said Rep. Lee.

Represented Lee attributes FEMA's vaccination efforts to the new administration.

"Now we finally have after two weeks.. I mean what a difference an election makes. After two weeks we are beginning to really do what we needed to do a year ago," said Rep. Lee.

The Oakland Coliseum site is set to open on February 16th for those with appointments under Phase 1A and 1B.

For appointments: myturn.ca.gov

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