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    Oakland Coliseum Offers Hope During Pandemic’s Dark Days

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority (“JPA”), working with other stakeholders such as the Oakland A’s and Alameda County Public Health, is now taking action to protect public health and improve lives in our community during these challenging times of the pandemic. On January 12, I had the honor to be appointed to represent Oakland on the Coliseum Authority Board. At my first meeting of the Coliseum Board, on January 15, we agreed to make the Coliseum site available as a large-scale vaccination site to help improve the pace and distribution of COVID-19 vaccination. I am thankful to other city and county officials and community stakeholders who are also supporting this effort, and to the many who also spoke in support of it at the meeting.

    Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego are also launching similar large vaccination plans. The Oakland Coliseum site, which accesses BART, the freeway, and more, is centrally located and easily accessible to many, including especially some of the hardest-hit communities who very much need protection from the coronavirus.  By opening this site for large-scale vaccination, we can create opportunity for the efficient and equitable vaccinations of many. The more vaccinations, the further we move away from the mayhem that COVID-19 and this pandemic have created in many people’s lives.

    This action can help protect the health of our community, provide hope, and open pathways to rebuilding our economy in a healthy way. It is also an important moment to use the resource of this large public facility in a way that helps protect the communities we serve.

    Dave Kaval from the Oakland Athletics tweeted about it:

    Nationwide, and especially in California, the distribution of coronavirus vaccines is moving slower than originally planned. There are two issues. First, the demand for vaccines exceeds the supply. We simply need more vaccines. President Biden will use the Defense Production Act to expand the production of vaccines. So, there is hope that there will be more vaccines in circulation soon. Second, there is a need to find a way to distribute the vaccines more effectively to more people. According to Alameda County Public Health, “Alameda County wants to create equitable vaccine distribution, and our strategy is to make vaccines readily available and easily available through County-administered points of dispensing.”

    By making large-scale sites available, we can significantly improve the distribution of vaccines in California, which has given out only a small percentage of available vaccines in our state.

    The pandemic rages on. In the U.S. alone, more than 410,000 lives have been lost to the coronavirus, which shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, all signs point to extra vigilance after news broke that more communicable variants to the virus have emerged and are present in the Bay Area. In Alameda County, there have been almost 68,000 cases that have resulted in over 750 deaths, as the number of cases started to spike and hasn’t relented since November. These numbers are why it is so important that the Coliseum will be used as a mass vaccination site. And we need help from our State and Federal government to help provide more vaccines and support distribution systems.

    Be well and stay safe.

    Councilmember At-Large and Council President Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016 and 2020. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland ( https://twitter.com/Kaplan4Oakland ) and Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/Kaplan4Oakland/ ).

    Published on January 28, 2021