Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft
Like landing on the surface of Mars, registering for a COVID-19 vaccine takes perseverance! But scheduling your vaccine should be less daunting than slowing NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover from 12,000 mph to 1.7 mph to touch down on the red planet.
Here are some tips to make scheduling your vaccine less intimidating:
Who’s eligible? Currently, vaccinations in Alameda County are being administered to health care workers, people 65 years and older, education and childcare workers, emergency and essential services personnel — the latter category comprises law enforcement, and food/agriculture workers, including grocery store and restaurant employees.
How to sign up: You’ll need perseverance and patience. If scheduling by phone, have a pen and paper handy. Check back often if no appointments are available the first time you call or visit a website. Recent East Coast storms delayed vaccine deliveries, but shipments are beginning to resume.
If you have a healthcare provider start there. These include:
• Kaiser Permanente: 866-454- 8855 or healthy.kaiserpermanente.org
• Stanford Health Care: 650- 498-9000, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or myhealth.stanford-healthcare.org
• Sutter: 844-987-6115 Monday to Friday, 7. a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. sutter¬health.org
Try the state next: Call the COVID-19 Hotline, 833-422-4255 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit myturn.ca.gov
If you’re in an eligible category, your zip code will be entered to search for an available vaccination site which may include the Oakland Coliseum mega POD (Point-of-Dispensing) or other Alameda County locations.
CVS pharmacies are also administering COVID-19 vaccines. To schedule, call 800-679-9691 Monday to Friday. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time. Or visit cvs.com
COVID-19 vaccines are provided at no cost with insurance or through a federal program for those without insurance. You should schedule your second vaccination when scheduling your first appointment. Many sites will do this automatically.
Register for v-safe. This smartphone-based tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses text messaging check-ins to learn about any side-effects you may experience after being vaccinated.
Depending on your response, you may get a phone call from the CDC. Check-ins are daily the first week after your first vaccine, weekly for the next five weeks, and then three, six and 12 months after your final dose. Register at vsafe.cdc.gov.
Overcoming the unknown: Just over a year ago, on Jan.21, 2020, the first United States case of COVID- 19 was detected in a Washington state resident.
On March 6, 2020, passengers and crew on a cruise ship off the California coast tested positive for COVID-19.
California became the first state to issue a stay-at-home order. As COVID-19 spread rapidly around the world causing widespread suffering and death, scientists worked tirelessly to develop treatments and vaccines.
In December 2020, less than a year after the U.S. reported its first COVID-19 case, Pfizer and Moderna received Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for their vaccinations, and Johnson & Johnson is expected to seek EUA from the FDA for its single-dose vaccine later this month.
These vaccines, combined with our personal behavior, are helping slow the spread of this disease and moving us closer to important milestones like reopening schools for in-person instruction, reopening our businesses, getting people back to work.
So please, keep doing what you’ve been doing to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19: wear a mask, or two whenever you leave home; stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with; wash your hands frequently. And when it’s your turn, get vaccinated!
Perseverance can overcome the most daunting challenges, and you’ve got what it takes; you’re Alameda Strong!
Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is the mayor of Alameda.