Photo: Walk-up access at sites like Golden Gate Fields in Albany remain open.

On the morning of April 19, the Oakland Coliseum vaccination site abruptly started turning away people walking, bicycling, and taking transit to get vaccinated. The site is now offering drive-up only access through May 3, with no clear plan to reopen the walk-up option for appointment holders after that date. Other vaccination sites welcome pedestrians and bicyclists, as well they should, and transit operators like BART have been offering free rides to vaccine appointments. We support everyone working hard to ensure that the greatest number of people are able to access this life saving vaccine. For that very reason, it is unconscionable to cut off access to the vaccination site for people taking public transit, walking, or biking.

Write to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors today, letting them know vaccine sites must be accessible to everyone, no matter what mode of transportation they take to get there. (Issues with the link? Find contact details below).

The California Office of Emergency Services says a key strategy to the success of vaccine distribution in Alameda County has been “creating multiple methods to access the vaccine” including walk-through options for people who arrive outside of a car. The site provides up to 6,000 doses per day to residents from around the Bay Area. 

Meanwhile according to Alameda County Health Care Services Agency “if you are scheduled for a second dose walk-up appointment during the week of May 2, you will have access to your appointment via BART and the pedestrian bridge.” But it’s too little too late for those turned away last week, including one visitor who was forced to either schedule a $100 Lyft ride or cancel their appointment. As of right now there are no plans to keep access for people who walk, bike, or take transit to the site outside of the week of May 2. As Bike East Bay Education Director Robert Prinz put it, “keeping a walk/bike-up option available isn’t about efficiency, it’s about making sure everyone who arrives gets service. This isn’t a fast food drive-through window, this is a life-saving vaccine. Turning anyone with an appointment away is highly inappropriate.” Write to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors today.

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