East Bay Getting to Zero

What’s up with COVID vaccines?

Updated July 21, 2021

Everyone ages 12 and over is eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of insurance and immigration status.

Vaccines are plentiful and widely available in the East Bay. Appointments and walk-ups are available the same day at many sites, including for the Pfizer vaccine for 12-17 year olds. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all available. Get a vaccine today at MyTurn.ca.gov or with your medical provider!

Check out California’s Vax for the Win $116.5 million vaccine incentive program.

How do we get a COVID vaccine?

  1. Check for an available appointment or walk-up site hours:
  2. When you go to your vaccine appointment, bring:
    • A photo ID (does not have to be government-issued)
    • Appointment confirmation, if not walking up (printed or on phone)
    • A mask.

For people under 18, there are several ways to provide consent (click on the infographic for more details):

  • Online registration: parent/guardian checks consent box
  • Drop-in/walk-up:
    • Parent/guardian comes and gives consent in-person
    • Parent/guardian gives consent on phone or video
    • Youth brings in paper form signed by parent/guardian. Click here to download the parent/guardian consent form for Alameda County. 

Vaccine phone lines:

If you need help with transportation or are home-bound:

Vaccines through pharmacies:

Vaccines through community pop-ups:

  • Oakland LGBTQ Center
    • Wednesday, August 4, 2-4 pm
    • 510-882-2286 
    • FREE Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations.
    • Please select “No insurance”. Lifelong won’t be collecting insurance information.
    • Walk-ups are also welcome.

Vaccines through county vaccination sites:

Vaccines are now readily available with plentiful supply with choices for the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines.

What vaccines are currently available?

We have three authorized vaccines available: the Pfizer and Moderna two-dose vaccines and the Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) one-dose vaccine. All three authorized vaccines are highly protective, especially against severe disease, and nearly 100% effective against hospitalization and death.

  • See how the authorized vaccines work: download PDF infographics from the CDC –

Johnson & Johnson vaccines, rare blood clots and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS):

The CDC has recommended to continue vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine for people ages 18+ because the benefits far outweigh the risks of rare blood clots and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Meeting slides and data updates discussed at the April 23rd CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting can be downloaded here.

On July 13, the FDA announced an update to the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet to include a warning about rare cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), about 1 in 125,000 so far.

Read CDC updated questions and answers on the J&J vaccine here and the detailed CDC process, analysis and recommendations on the J&J vaccine here

Click here for J&J updates from California state and fact sheets in multiple languages.

Vaccines for ages 12-17: Currently only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in people ages 12-17. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved in people ages 18 and over. Moderna announced on May 25 that their vaccine is 100% effective for 12-17 year olds in a clinical trial that enrolled 3,732 people ages 12 to 17. Moderna plans to submit data to the FDA for authorization in June. Pfizer plans to submit data and an authorization request for children ages 2-11 in September.

People living with HIV and COVID-19 vaccines

All people living with HIV (PLWH) are recommended to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The approved vaccines are not live vaccines and are considered safe for people living with HIV regardless of CD4 count. There is data showing that people living with HIV and CD4 counts less than 200 may have greater risk for hospitalizations and death, so consider prioritizing outreach, education and vaccinations for this potentially more-at-risk group. 

A new WHO study of over 15,000 global cases of COVID-19 in people living with HIV (PLWH) presented at IAS in July 2021 found that PLWH were 13% more likely to be hospitalized and 30% more likely to die after being hospitalized.Among PLWH, having diabetes, high blood pressure, being male or over 75 years old was each associated with an increased risk of death. This study underscores the importance of prioritizing PLWH for vaccinations. Fortunately, data from the UK shows that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective for people with underlying health conditions, including HIV. 

Should we check for immunity after vaccination? The FDA does not currently recommend checking for SARS-Cov2 antibodies after COVID-19 vaccination since current antibody tests have not been evaluated to assess level of protection from vaccination. 

Resources for PLWH and COVID-19 vaccines: 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).

What you can do when you’re fully vaccinated (2 weeks after completing doses)

On July 16 the Bay Area Health Officers, including Alameda and Contra Costa Counties recommended for everyone to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status due to rising case rates. Masking is also recommended for everyone in crowded outdoor settings.

Masks are required for unvaccinated people in indoor public settings and for everyone on public transport, schools, childcare, healthcare, correctional and shelter settings. Our updated infographics below are based on the updated Bay Area guidance, California guidance and CDC guidance.

CDC travel guidance for fully vaccinated people:

  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • If you travel internationally, find out the pandemic situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States and requirements for testing.
  • Fully vaccinated people do *not* need to self-quarantine after arriving in the US or after exposure to COVID-19 unless you live in a large group setting. 

CDC guidance for exposures to COVID-19 for fully vaccinated people:

  • The good news is that fully vaccinated people are very well protected against serious COVID-19 and infection risk is low.
  • Do you work in a healthcare setting? Let your supervisor know and follow workplace guidelines.
  • Are you experiencing any symptoms?
    • If you don’t have any symptoms and are not in a healthcare setting or congregate living situation, you don’t have to quarantine. Just watch for symptoms for 14 days after your last exposure. 
    • If you have symptoms or develop them, self-isolate and let your health care provider know about your symptoms, that you’re vaccinated and get tested (ideally PCR and sequencing to evaluate for variants with report to public health).
  • If you live in a congregate setting (e.g., correctional and detention facilities, group homes) you should quarantine for 14 days and get tested to help further reduce the risk of transmission to others in these crowded settings.
  • If you work in a congregate setting or crowded workplace (e.g., meat and poultry processing and manufacturing plants), you do not need to quarantine, but testing is recommended.

When fully vaccinated people should get tested for COVID-19:

  • When experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • When you live or work in a congregate or crowded setting and have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Click for more from the CDC: general guidance, travel guidance and the scientific brief. Click here for our harm reduction guidance and graphics

Help the vaccine roll-out effort!

Vaccine Resources

Help educate our community and combat vaccine misinformation! There are three safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines widely available and authorized for use in the US: the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Resources for recipients and caregivers:

Resources for health care providers and organizations:

County public health department vaccine updates:

COVID-19 vaccine data trackers:

Vaccine questions and feedback:

Community spotlights

Imran Merchant at UCSF and Trikone says, “Working as a front line healthcare worker, receiving the vaccine meant I was protecting myself and helping those around me. Yes, I felt the symptoms of chills and body aches but that is nothing compared to the pain of having had COVID and being hospitalized and it is nothing compared to the millions of lives lost due to COVID. Help protect yourself and your community, get vaccinated.”

Dr. Xaviera Ortiz of LifeLong Medical Care and Alameda Health System is happy to share that she received the COVID-19 vaccine while she was pregnant, and both she and her healthy newborn now have antibodies that protect against getting COVID-19.

Christian Aguirre (He/Him), HIV Prevention Manager at Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County, says “I felt very fortunate to have the chance to receive the vaccine and help protect the LGBTQI+ community members that are served through Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa. Many of us struggle when it comes to receiving health services because of privilege, cost, insurance, and immigration status. The advice I had to give to myself was: If you are available to get the vaccine, do it ASAP!”

Terri Lynn Haggins, Community member & WORLD volunteer says, “I took my second vaccine today. It’s important to think first about your health! NO to HIV…NO to cancer and NO to COVID-19!”

Moisés Cruz Jáuregui, EBGTZ, dice: “Una vacuna significa tener la posibilidad de prevenir una enfermedad. El COVID-19 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!”

2-month post-vaccine update: “I tend to get lots of side effects from medications and vaccines. Thankfully I was able to take the day off work after each dose. I got injection site pain and fatigue with the first dose that lasted a few days. After the second dose, I got fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches and a headache. It made me feel better to know that the side effects are from my body’s immune system training hard (real hard!) to fight off the virus and was helping me protect myself, my family and my community get safer. I could feel my body churning out loads of antibodies!

The longest side effect I’ve had is a feeling of liberation knowing that I am safely visiting my vaccinated mother and spending more time with loved ones. After this long and stressful pandemic year, it’s an amazing feeling to know that I was able to get vaccinated to keep my community safer and healthier.”