Coliseum mass vaccination site to close doors as demand for vaccine falls

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a briefing with state and local officials at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. (Photo via Gavin Newsom/Twitter)

The COVID-19 vaccination sites at the Oakland Coliseum will close later this month after a rapid reduction in demand for first-dose appointments, Alameda County announced Wednesday.

The vaccination site will close May 23, county officials said, two weeks after the state’s Office of Emergency Services concludes its deployment at the site. According to the county, requests for first dose appointments fell from 4,000 per day to 400 per day over the last two weeks of April. Nearly 250,000 doses have been administered at the site since it opened Feb. 15.

“This marks an important milestone for our community,” Alameda County Health Care Services Agency Director Colleen Chawla said. “More than 70 percent of our residents have received at least one vaccination, allowing us to move away from mass vaccination.”

View of the temporary clinic’s tents from the Coliseum stadium. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

OES and the Federal Emergency Management Agency opened and jointly operated the site from mid-February as part of a federal effort to establish 100 large-scale vaccination sites across the country during President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office.

Alameda and Contra Costa counties began jointly operating the site with the OES last month after it was announced that federal emergency personnel would be ending their work at the Coliseum.

The two counties will complete scheduled appointments for second doses through May 23 in partnership with local health care entities like the Native American Health Center and Bay Area Community Health.

After that, Chowla said the county plans to shift resources from the mass vaccination site toward communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and are still most at risk of developing new cases.

“We met the initial mass demand for vaccines with incredible speed and the involvement of every sector of our community,” Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley said. “We must move deeper into communities where residents may have barriers preventing access to mass vaccination sites.”

According to county vaccination data, nearly 1.5 million doses have been administered countywide and more than 900,000 residents age 16 and up have received at least one vaccine dose. Residents who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to call (510) 208-4829 or visit bit.ly/AlCoSignUp for information on scheduling an appointment or finding a clinic with walk-in vaccination services.

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