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Newsom: Oakland Coliseum Mass Vaccination Site To Remain Open

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom reassured East Bay residents Tuesday that a mass vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum will remain open after federal officials end their participation on April 11.

The site be transitioning from a state-federal partnership to a regional partnership between the State of California, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. FEMA will remain involved, but will not longer providing supplies of vaccines.

"Both sites will remain operational -- both the Oakland, rather the Alameda County site, and the site at Cal State LA.," Newsom said at morning news conference. "The only change is that we are not going to get the direct allocation of vaccines from the federal government. That's the only change. Otherwise there will be no perceptible change to the public."

Each site was set up to vaccinate 6,000 people per day, but they have been administering up to 7,500 shots per day, according to the state Office of Emergency Services. Newsom said it was too early to tell if those numbers will go down without the federal pipeline.

"The issue is again constraint, the issue is supply," he said. "So we are working with the county and in the case of Northern California...We are working with two counties -- Alameda County and Contra Costa County -- forming a regional partnership with FEMA, CalOES."

"We will be matching the allocations coming from those two counties with the state allocation of vaccines," Newsom added.

On Saturday, FEMA Acting Administrator Robert Fenton rejected a request from Newsom to extend federal COVID-19 vaccine shipments to the mass vaccination sites beyond the April 11 cutoff date.

"We were not successful in extending the commitment the federal government made -- and that commitment by the way was the first commitment in the United States so we are very grateful to the Biden Administration," he said. "They made that commitment...they held to their word and now we will be taking over at least the vaccine supply component and matching it with the counties."

In response to a request from Cal-OES, Fenton said: "FEMA has delivered all the promised vaccine to the state of California, plus some additional doses of Pfizer. And with the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we were able to add product to vaccinate tens of thousands of additional people."

"On Sunday, Apr. 11, the eight-week CVC mission will be completed. But that does not mean vaccinations will end. Cal OES is working with local health officials on a transition plan to transfer management of the CVCs to local organizations."

Fenton said when the two state-federal sites were opened, California was receiving roughly 1.5 million vaccine doses a week. That number has been on the rise for several weeks.

"Moving forward, California is scheduled to receive at least 2 million doses a week for the next three weeks," Fenton said. "Thursday, Apr. 1, the state indicated it anticipates receiving as many as 3 million doses a week in late-April. Additionally, pharmacies are scheduled to get an increase of 500,000 vaccines per week."

He said federal funding for the two sites would continue until Oct. 30.

"FEMA is prepared to leave all locally hired employees in place if the facilities are transferred," he said. "We are also prepared to leave the three mobile units associated with each CVC."

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