OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- Thursday marked the launch of what is being called "Educators Day" at the vaccination megasite at the Oakland Coliseum.
It's part of an effort to expedite doses to school employees so campuses can reopen as quickly and safely as possible.
Half of the doses at the site were allocated just for teachers on Thursday.
The Coliseum site was expected to do up to 7,000 people total. Teachers who managed to get a dose told KPIX they felt lucky.
Special Education teaching assistant Liz Capstick was not taking any chances. She arrived at the coliseum more than an hour before her appointment, just in case.
"I'm nervous and excited to get this. It's a step in the right direction," she said.
Capstick received an email with the special registration code to schedule her appointment and did not hesitate to join the thousands of people coming through to get their dose.
"It's important. They're trying to reopen schools, and they can't really do that if nobody's prepared" said Capstick.
These first few days are by invitation only. The Alameda County Office of Education is handing out the single-use registration codes. They are targeting education workers in southern and eastern Alameda County. The county is prioritizing staff who work directly with students.
Email surveys are being used to plan ahead, so teachers and other school employees are advised to check their emails and fill them out by the deadlines provided.
"I think it's great to have a day allocated for particular populations," said Oakland Educators Association Vice President Chaz Garcia.
The Oakland union was not directly involved in the Educators Day rollout, but Garcia said she was glad to see teachers getting more attention and resources.
"At this point, we know that there's a pivot to really make sure that the things that teachers need are provided. We're thankful that the politicians and people in power are focused on providing resources that are necessary," said Garcia. "So while that's vaccinations for us, that's great. But we don't want us to be alone in the spotlight. We know that we're not alone in the schools and we want to make sure that we shine that light on the community at large."
The Alameda County Office of Education told KPIX the county was given 6,000 of the registration codes to distribute. They targeted teachers and sent those on Tuesday and Wednesday. The big challenge for teachers is to find the time in between teaching their classes over zoom to come out to the site and get those doses.
The distribution of the access codes has been a complicated process across the Bay Area. In San Francisco, teachers were turned away at the Moscone Center mass vaccination site for not having access codes earlier this week, though issues with the codes seemed to be getting ironed out by officials on Wednesday.
Officials in Santa Cruz County said they will have offered the vaccine to all of K-12 educators and staff in the county by Friday.
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