Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo isn’t surprised by the numbers. He says getting to the Coliseum can be a challenge and scheduling an appointment online can be even more troublesome for folks with limited internet access. “In the grassroot neighborhood, people will come because they’re able to walk or they’re able to schedule a time when they’re not working and they’re able to, in many cases, walk their children there to the site. They don’t have the vehicles and certainly going to the Coliseum you have to get on the bus, take the BART, walk over the stadium,” Gallo said.
That’s why he says mobile vaccination sites that work in partnership with community organizations have had better turnouts. at mobile vaccine clinics in Oakland, 25% of the doses went to African Americans, 33% to Latinos and 18% to Asians. Meanwhile, 17% of the doses went to white residents. Natalie Aguilera of the Native Health Center says their organization set up one of those sites in Fruitvale with the help of FEMA.
She says they decided not to advertise the clinic on social media but instead use fliers and go door to door within the community to inform neighbors.“We knew from the presence of social media that the word would spread to beyond our community to different counties. we knew we didn’t want that to happen but the second piece is we ended up doing our own scheduling system so we made it very easy for the person to get their name on the list and make an appointment,” Natalie Aguilera said.Aguilera says this reinforces the need for governments to partner with their community groups to reach hard-hit neighborhoods.“The need is there, right now people want to get vaccinated and we just need to be able to get the doses to get them out to the people,” Aguilera said