Two of the Bay Area's biggest mass-vaccination sites will shut down for good in the coming weeks, in yet another sign of ongoing progress in the pandemic fight — and signaling the shift in focus for the vaccine campaign.
Both the Oakland Coliseum and Moscone Center mass-vaccination sites are closing, on May 23 and May 28 respectively. The announcement comes as demand for shots is dropping off dramatically, and as places like CVS are now offering them to all walk-in customers.
Officials say that demand for first shots at the Coliseum dropped from 4,000 per day last month to just 400 per day in recent days, and that is leading the state to pull out from its commitment to the site. California's Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) will end its deployment of staff and resources on May 9, as ABC 7 reports, and Alameda County will then take over to complete the administration of second doses until May 23.
To date, the site has administered nearly 250,000 vaccine doses to Alameda County residents.
When FEMA pulled its support from the site in the second week in April, CalOES said it would continue to operate there with help from Alameda and Contra Costa counties for one month, so May 9 fulfills that promise.
"More than 70% of our residents have received at least one vaccination, allowing us to move away from mass vaccination," says Colleen Chawla, director of Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, in a statement. "We can now shift our resources into additional focused efforts that will reach residents who are more comfortable receiving their vaccines from trusted community partners and deploying our resources deeply into the communities that have borne the brunt of the pandemic."
As of this week, Contra Costa County announced that it was welcoming anyone in the region to come to a county site to receive a vaccine, regardless of whether they live or work in the county — reflecting the growing abundance of supply compared to the slowing of vaccine demand.
"We met the initial mass demand for vaccines with incredible speed and the involvement of every sector of our community,” said county Supervisor Nate Miley in a statement to the Mercury News. “We must move deeper into communities where residents may have barriers preventing access to mass vaccination sites."
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