OAKLAND (KPIX) — When the federal government opened its mass vaccination clinic at the Oakland Coliseum, it also included a couple of mobile units to target areas of special need. Saturday, the focus was on getting schools reopened.
The vaccination clinic at the Alameda County Office of Education in Hayward was held specifically for employees who either work on campuses now or will be on campus when in-person learning resumes. Superintendent of Schools L.K. Monroe gave credit to the county for including teachers and school workers in its Tier 1B designation.READ MORE: UPDATE: Victim, Suspect Identified In Fatal Oakland Park Shooting in Front of Children
“Many counties have had difficulties being able to prioritize educators,” she said. “They’ve said, we’re going to stick with 65-plus, see how that goes, and then we’ll let you know, educators, when we can look at vaccinating you. Alameda County said we need our educators to have access to this vaccine, too.”
Dan McCafferty, campus supervisor at Livermore High School, had concerns about the safety of the vaccine but he took the shot, following the lead of his best friend.
“Well, to be honest with you, I wasn’t going to do it at all,” McCafferty said. “(My friend) said it actually felt freeing knowing that he had the shot.”
Dawn Hudson, who works at Del Rey Elementary in San Lorenzo, also had her doubts about getting the vaccine but, so far, so good.READ MORE: COVID: Youth, Adult Multi-Team Sports Can Resume In Alameda Co., Berkeley
“If I get sick, at least I tried to save somebody and myself also,” she said. “I feel good now but I was very hesitant a couple of hours ago getting the shot but I’m fine. Not even one side effect so far, so that’s good.”
The vaccination effort in Hayward was the first FEMA-sponsored mobile vaccine distribution in the nation. The 3-day, education-focused clinic offered about 750 doses, certainly not enough to get the schools open but it’s a start.
“They want to know if they can just go home and return to normal and, you know, unfortunately I tell them it’s not quite that but they realize it’s one step closer,” said Dave Soldavini, who organized the clinic. He normally works for the U.S. Forest Service but, when he was called in to head up the mobile clinic effort, it quickly became a labor of love.
“We’ve been given this amazing opportunity to come and help people,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion. “And we knew it … we’re helping people with that first step across the finish line toward getting back to normal and getting to not worry about this fear.”MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Missing San Francisco Girl Found Safe In Pittsburg With Michigan Runaway
Fear is playing a large part in keeping the schools closed. The hope is that widespread vaccination may make workers more comfortable coming back to school and give kids a chance not just to learn but to thrive.