- Vaccine eligibility and access
- Vaccines for people living with HIV
- Resources and Frequently Asked Questions
- Community spotlights
Vaccine eligibility and access
As of March 3, Alameda and Contra Costa and Solano Counties have all opened eligibility to all people ages 65 and over as well as workers in health care, education/child care, emergency services, and food/agriculture. CA vaccine priority groups are defined here.
Starting March 15, Californians with high-risk health conditions will become eligible: “healthcare providers may use their clinical judgement to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more of the severe health conditions included in this provider bulletin.” Please see the graphic below. HIV, regardless of CD4 or immunocompromised status, is not one of the qualifying health conditions.
To access vaccines, we recommend the following steps:
- Sign up for all the notification systems available to you: see links below.
- Check on your vaccine eligibility with your medical provider and/or county for when the vaccine is available for your age or occupation group. See links below.
- When vaccine is available for your group:
- If the notification systems work, you should get a link for appointments when vaccine is available for your group.
- Check online or call your medical provider periodically for appointment availability if you are eligible and haven’t gotten a notification or appointment yet.
- If you cannot get a vaccine through your health provider, check if you can get a vaccine through a public (county) vaccination site.
- Please see below for links to medical providers and public vaccine sites. Oaklandside has additional details on their website.
- Don’t give up! (Even though it can be frustrating and confusing.) Keep checking and trying; eventually there will be enough vaccine.
All COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost to you.
Notifications for when vaccine is available for you:
There is no unified notification system, so you may choose to sign up for many different notification systems to stay informed about the full breadth of vaccination opportunities available to you:
- California State MyTurn notifications (in English, Español, 中文, Tagalog, Arabic, 한국어, ខ្មែរ, Tiếng Việt)
- Alameda County notifications (in English, Español, 中文; click here for how-to video)
- City of Berkeley notifications
- Solano County notifications
- You can also find out if your medical provider has a notification system.
Vaccines through medical providers:
- Kaiser members
- Sutter members
- Stanford Health members
- Many community health centers are providing vaccine appointments to eligible members. Please contact your provider to find out more. Asian Health Services members: click here. Alameda Health Systems members: click here.
Vaccines for the public at mass vaccination sites:
- Oakland Coliseum: Click here for the MyTurn webpage to check eligibility and appointment availability. New toll-free phone line: 833-422-4255.
- People in the region over age 65 and some frontline workers (health care workers, educators, food/agriculture and emergency workers) are eligible.
- This site is run by FEMA and CA state emergency services and receives its own vaccine supply.
- Both drive-through and walk-up appointments are available.
- Appointment slots are added as supplies come in, starting in the early morning, so keep checking for availability if you first don’t succeed.
- Click here to watch a video from NBC Bay Area on what to expect. People getting vaccinated during the first week report having a smooth and efficient experience.
- Alameda Fairgrounds: is open for Alameda County residents ages 65 and over. Click here for appointment info.
- The Berkeley Golden Gate Fields Buchanan parking lot site is open for people living in northern Alameda County. More info from Berkeleyside can be found here.
Vaccines through pharmacies:
- CVS pharmacies: vaccinating healthcare workers and people 65 and older.
- Rite Aid pharmacies: vaccinating healthcare workers and people 65 and older.
Vaccines for the public through county vaccination sites:
- Alameda County COVID-19 vaccine updates and notifications in English, Spanish/Español, Chinese/中文
- Click here for how-to video.
- Eligibility: people ages 65+ and workers in health care, education/childcare, food/agriculture, and emergency services.
- The county is prioritizing people in these neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus: 94601 and 94606 (San Antonio/Fruitvale), 94603 and 94621 (East Oakland), 94607 (West Oakland), 94578, 94541, and 94580 (Ashland/Cherryland) and 94544 (South Hayward).
- Notifications will be sent out when vaccines are available for your group from county-supplied sites.
- Kaiser, Sutter, Stanford and the Coliseum get their own supply, so check with them separately.
- Health care workers need to sign up as “health care providers” to get notifications.
- City of Berkeley vaccine notifications: click here to register
- Contra Costa County COVID-19 vaccine updates and appointments
- Solano County vaccine updates, notifications and access points
- Eligibility: people ages 65+ and workers in health care, education/childcare, food/agriculture, clergy and emergency services.
- Please click here and scroll to the bottom to see info on where to access vaccines.
Vaccine appointments may still be difficult to access due to limited and uneven vaccine supplies, a fragmented health care system, and a confusing eligibility system. For example, while essential workers in education/child care, food/ag and emergency services are “eligible” in Alameda County, the county has an internal priority sequences to invite sub-groups of these essential workers based on exposure, age, uninsured status and zip codes at highest risk. When you’re eligible, keep checking and trying, and you will eventually get a vaccine appointment.
The CDC has updated their quarantine guidance for people who are fully vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19 in community settings: “People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease within the last three months and show no symptoms.”
Who is eligible for vaccines now?
Bay Area counties are following CA state guidelines on vaccine prioritization, which were updated on February 1. Alameda County additionally uses the following criteria to determine whom to invite to make appointments at county vaccination sites through their notification system:
People living with HIV and COVID-19 vaccines
Currently all people living with HIV (PLWH) are recommended to get the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible by age, work exposures and/or underlying conditions. The approved vaccines are not live vaccines and are considered safe for people living with HIV regardless of CD4 count. A diagnosis of HIV alone, regardless of immune status, is not one of the qualifying medical conditions for vaccines under the California’s vaccine guidelines listed here. There is emerging data that people living with HIV and CD4 counts less than 200 are at greater risk for hospitalizations and death, so consider prioritizing outreach, education and vaccinations for this potentially more-at-risk group.
The Moderna vaccine trial included 179 PLWH and the Pfizer trial included 196 PLWH but data on these sub-groups has not been reported separately yet. There is currently no recommendation to check antibody levels for people living with HIV after completing vaccination. We are not sure yet how much commercially available SARS-CoV2 antibody tests such as at Quest and LabCorp check for protective levels of neutralizing spike antibodies generated by the vaccines, but providers and patients may discuss checking for spike IgG antibody levels two or more weeks after the second vaccine dose while we await more data.
Help the vaccine roll-out effort!
- All Alameda County health care providers are encouraged to enroll in CalVax to become vaccinators.
- To volunteer at a county vaccination site, please register here.
Help educate our community and combat vaccine misinformation! There are now two safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the US: the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are 94-95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease. Real-world data with mRNA vaccines also suggests a 90% reduction in asymptomatic infection.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
- Myths and Facts from the CDC
- General vaccine FAQs from the CDC
- Alameda Health Consortium: Myths and Facts and FAQs in English, Español, 中文, and Arabic
- SFDPH COVID vaccine FAQs for community members
- UNAIDS infosheet on COVID-19 vaccines and HIV
- Clinical FAQs with Dr. Paul Sax at Harvard and The New England Journal of Medicine
- Clinical FAQs for people living with HIV from HIVMA (PDF)
- Guidance for talking with patients and FAQs for PLWH from Alameda Health Systems (PDF)
Resources for recipients and caregivers:
- Pfizer and Moderna CDC vaccine information
- CDC v-safe app info for vaccine recipients to report side effects and get reminders for their second dose
- En Español: Vacunas contra el COVID-19 (CDC)
- Vaccine info in 中文 | 한국어 | ខ្មែរ | Tiếng Việt (Chinese, Korean, Khmer and Vietnamese) from Asian Health Services
- Videos: Black community vaccination videos from San Diego County
- Video: “Making It Plain: What Black America Needs to Know About COVID-19 and Vaccines”
- Videos en Español and English: Faculty of color from UCSF share their vaccine experiences
Resources for health care providers and organizations:
- COVID vaccine info for health care providers giving the vaccine
- CA and county vaccine education materials and media in multiple languages
- Updated CDC quarantine guidance: “Fully vaccinated persons who meet criteria will no longer be required to quarantine following an exposure to someone with COVID-19.” ACPHD updated Health Officer Order 20-06 to align with the CDC.
- Enroll in CalVax to become a vaccination site.
- To volunteer for a CA county vaccine site please register here.
- Reporting an adverse vaccine event to VAERS (the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System)
- The latest vaccine recommendations from the CDC ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices)
- UCSF vaccine overview: what we currently know and don’t know.
County public health department vaccine updates:
- Alameda County COVID-19 vaccine plan, guidance, resources
- Contra Costa County COVID-19 vaccine updates and appointments
- Solano County vaccine updates and access points
Here are additional COVID-19 vaccine references we use to get the latest updates:
- California State COVID-19 vaccine tracker (distribution and administration)
- SF Chronicle and New York Times vaccine & rollout trackers
- WHO COVID-19 vaccine database: updated technical data & study links.
- KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: public attitudes and experience.
Vaccine questions and feedback:
- Alameda County: email firstname.lastname@example.org
- CA state vaccine prioritization plan: click here for community advisory committee meeting notes and email COVID19vaccineoutreach@cdph.ca.gov
Moisés Cruz Jáuregui, EBGTZ, dice: “Una vacuna significa tener la posibilidad de prevenir una enfermedad. El COVID19 ha lastimado mucho nuestra comunidad y a la vez nos ha en señado lo fuertes que podemos ser juntos. Tuve la oportunidad de recibir la vacuna y me siento muy agradecido y afortunado por mi mismo y por la comunidad con la trabajo. Cuando tengan la oportunidad, aprovechenla y opten por protegerse y proteger a los que aman!”
Vincent Williams, Oakland LGBTQ Center, says: “The idea of getting a vaccination was very scary for me. Being a person of color. But seeing that I could take potential steps in protecting myself out weighed my skepticism. I had some side effects from the first shot. But the second was a breeze. I am proud, and glad to say, ‘I got vaccinated!'”
Jesse Brooks, Community Advocate and EBGTZ Advisory Board Chair, says: “Being vaccinated was important to me, I can’t wait to get back to some resemblance of normalcy. I miss my family, and especially my 86-year-old mother. The worst for me have been all the deaths, bringing up PTSD from the early years of HIV. It’s been challenging living in daily fear of contracting COVID-19 or worse, passing it on to loved ones. As a community leader I felt the demonstration to the community and my family was important, knowing the mistrust that exists and knowing that it’s a challenge to put those fears to rest. I also felt I was at increased risk because of my age and comorbidities of diabetes.”
Shirley Mychelle Gainey, Case Manager at CAL-PEP, says:
“The reason I got vaccinated is that I miss hugging my baby boy. I haven’t hugged him tight since Mother’s day. When it comes to HIV or STI’s, he is well informed and asks questions. (Thank you CAL-PEP and APEB.) I want him to be just as informed about COVID-19. My landlord is 83 years old. I don’t want to place him in harm’s way. I miss going to campus. I am so over virtual everything! I understand that the masks will be with us through the next 100 days. At Least. If you and I and 100 people we know also get the vaccine, maybe the 100 days will seem more like 80.”
Amber Taylor, Case Manager at WORLD, says: “I got the vaccine due to working in the public, with a large number of people who are susceptible to catching the virus. Myself having asthma I am at a greater risk of catching COVID, so getting the vaccine I am protecting myself and the ones I love. I am always around my child, my father who is 65, my grandmother who is 70+, they are all at a greater risk of not recovering fully from this virus, so being around them I need to make sure they are protected at all times.”
Dr. Sami Lubega of EBGTZ got the vaccine from Dr. Maggie Edmonds, Deputy CMO at LifeLong and says, “I got the vaccine because I trust it to help me protect my patients, family, and community. For me, getting the vaccine is an important step in the movement to fight COVID-19 and to bring healing and togetherness into our lives again!”
Dr. Sophy Wong of EBGTZ got the vaccine from DL Poole, PA and COO at LifeLong and says, “Getting the vaccine is a pivotal moment in the pandemic for me. It feels like we’re finally starting to dig our way out of this crisis. I’m grateful to get such a highly effective vaccine to protect not only my own health but the health of loved ones and our communities. I look forward to working with everyone to get more vaccines out to more people more quickly!”