What a Difference a Year Makes!

City of Alameda

What a Difference a Year Makes!

When we rang in 2021, California’s “Regional Stay at Home Order” was in effect and the Pfizer vaccine was about to be distributed nationwide, having recently received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. (An EUA for the Moderna vaccine would soon follow.) In California, vaccinations would be administered in four phases beginning with healthcare workers, first responders, people with chronic underlying medical conditions, and older adults living in nursing homes.

We begin 2022 confronting the highly contagious Omicron variant, but with “more tools in our toolkit than we had last winter,” according to the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency (HCSA). Vaccines are now available for everyone five years of age and older, and in Alameda, 82.4% of residents eligible to be vaccinated are fully vaccinated.

However, to achieve maximum protection from Omicron, medical experts recommend getting a booster shot or, for those considered to be immunocompromised, a third vaccine. Yet, as of January 3, 2022, only 54.5% of fully vaccinated Alameda residents had received their COVID-19 booster. We need to do better, Alameda!

“Everyone five years and older who is not yet vaccinated or boosted (if eligible) should do so with a sense of urgency,” according to HCSA.

The CDC recommends booster shots for adults 18 years of age and older at least six months after receiving their second Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, or at least two months after receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Teens 16-17 years old may get a booster six months after receiving their second Pfizer vaccine, and the CDC may soon approve Pfizer boosters for 12- to 15-year-olds. Appointments are available at Alameda CVS, Safeway, and Walgreens pharmacies. Visit vaccines.gov or call 510-208-4829 to find a location and schedule your or your child’s COVID-19 vaccine or booster today.

Wear the right mask(s):
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask in indoor public spaces and workplaces until Jan. 15, and possibly later, depending on COVID-19 transmission and hospitalization rates, pursuant to a California Department of Public Health mandate. Masks provide an important physical barrier against COVID-19, if you choose a mask that blocks viral particles. Stanford University infectious disease specialist Dr. Abraar Karan says virus particles from an infected person can linger in the air for minutes, or even hours. A cloth mask alone doesn’t provide sufficient protection from these particles, but surgical masks, made from material that has an electrostatic charge, pulls particles from the air, preventing them from entering your respiratory tract. Since surgical masks may fit loosely at the sides, you can wear a cloth mask over a surgical mask for a tighter fit or choose a high-quality mask like an N95 or a KF94.

We can do this, Alameda! Get vaccinated and boosted. Avoid indoor gatherings. Stay home if you’re not feeling well and get tested. Let’s control COVID!

Come in from the cold:
The Alameda Warming Shelter (AWS), located at Christ Church Alameda on Santa Clara Avenue, is now open for overnight shelter, showers, food and compassion for up to 20 unsheltered individuals, while observing COVID-19 protocols. AWS will be open every Monday and Thursday through mid-April, and every night of the week when the weather is forecast to be 42 degrees or lower, or when rain is predicted.

AWS Meal Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Scott is seeking more volunteers to prepare and deliver meals. Kelly sets the schedule for each week on Monday and notifies volunteers by email. Folks who sign-up for Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday shifts will essentially be “on call,” but informed at the start of week if the shelter will be open and their services will be needed.

Volunteers can sign up at: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080F44A4A928A20-alameda

Learn more about the shelter and meals at: https://tinyurl.com/2p99nekk

Monetary donations are also very much appreciated. To help sustain this vital service please visit: https://christchurchalameda.org/seasonal-warming-shelter

Lunch Elves needed:
The Alameda Lunch Elves began in April 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when many of our unhoused neighbors experienced isolation and food insecurity. In January 2021, Christ Church Alameda adopted the program as part of their Social Justice Ministry.

Volunteers make and deliver lunches to individuals served by Operation Dignity Street Outreach, Building Futures, and Village of Love. The Alameda Food Bank provides lunch supplies, so volunteering doesn’t involve a financial commitment. Previous volunteers included families, youth, seniors, Scout troops, school groups, and faith-based organizations. Please consider becoming an Alameda Lunch Elf and providing a bag of lunch, and love for those who need it most!

For more information, contact Alisa Rasera at frolikdance@gmail.com. Sign up to be an Alameda Lunch Elf at: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090B4EA9AD22AAF85-volunteers.

Happy New Year, Alameda! Let’s make 2022 a great year. Protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Lend a hand to those in need. Stay Alameda Strong!