This guide will walk you through how to locate a COVID vaccine. It includes information about specific places you can get vaccinated as an unhoused person, as well as the general avenues for vaccination as an adult in Alameda County.
Since April, all adults in the U.S. have been eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Unlike the early days of the vaccine rollout, it is now much easier to secure a shot. Unsheltered people may sign up to receive their vaccine along with the general public (more information about this below). However, there are also a few specific places you can go to receive the vaccine as an unhoused person that may be more accessible to you. At these locations, you can guarantee that all vaccinations will be given on a walk-in basis, at no cost and with no appointments required. Here are some of the specific avenues for finding a vaccine as an unhoused person:
Community care vaccination sites
There are a number of community care vaccination sites for homeless people that operate on a monthly schedule. Here, you must be 18 or older to receive a shot. Those are:
The Wood Street Encampment, at Raimondi Park (at 18th and Wood Street, or 1800 Wood Street) every 3rd Monday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The High Street safe RV parking site in East Oakland, located at 605 High Street, offers vaccinations every 3rd Tuesday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room at 675-23rd Street and MLK in Oakland offers vaccinations between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 pm on the 2nd Tuesday, 4th Tuesday, and Last Saturday of every month.
The East Oakland Community project, located at 7515 International Boulevard, will be offering vaccinations on the 4th Wednesday of every month between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
The New Hope Church North in Hayward, located at 22110 Montgomery Street, will be vaccinating people every 3rd Tuesday of the month from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The BACS HEDCO Wellness Center in Hayward, at 590 B Street, will be vaccinating people every 3rd Wednesday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The First Presbeteryian Church of Hayward in Castro Valley, at 2490 Grove Way, will be vaccinating people every 3rd Friday of the month from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The April Showers program at Creekside Church in San Leandro, at 951 MacArthur Blvd, will be vaccinating people every 4th Sunday of the month from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
El Shaddai/HCH Mobile Dental, located at 565 E Lewelling Blvd in San Lorenzo, will be offering vaccination on the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
The BACS South County Wellness Center in Fremont at 40963 Grimmer Boulevard will be vaccinating people on the 2nd Friday of every month between 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
On-site at shelters and behavioral healthcare programs
Vaccines are also available for people who live at a shelter, a transitional housing program, or attend a behavioral healthcare program (such as a recovery program). If this describes your current situation, make sure to ask about when and how you can get your vaccine.
Through a mobile healthcare provider on the street
There are 14 street health teams throughout Alameda County, operated by healthcare providers like LifeLong, Roots, Tiburcio, Bay Area Community Health, and Healthcare for the Homeless—that provide street-based health services in specific geographic zones. These providers are providing vaccinations for unsheltered homeless people in encampment settings and on the street. Currently, there is no set schedule for where and when these groups will be providing vaccinations. However, keep your eye out for them if you live outside. They are making their way through unsheltered settings and may land in your encampment soon.
Housed or unhoused, there are several other avenues to sign up for a vaccine in Alameda County. Adults 12-years-old and older can sign up to receive a shot in the county in the following ways:
Through your primary care provider
Your healthcare provider could give you the COVID shot. Clinics including (but not limited to) LifeLong, Asian Health Services, the West Oakland Health Center, Alameda Alliance, and Roots, and providers such as Kaiser, Sutter Health, Stanford Health, and Alameda Health System are currently vaccinating their eligible clients.
No matter who your healthcare provider is, chances are they will be able to help you get an appointment. Call to check in about whether they can help get you scheduled.
At one of Alameda County’s large-scale vaccination sites
You can make an appointment to be vaccinated at one of Alameda County’s community vaccination sites. Those are:
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Schedule an appointment online here or call 833-422-4255
Alameda County Fairgrounds (Drive-Thru Only). Call 510-208-4829 or schedule an appointment online here.
Buchanan Parking at Golden Gate Fields. Schedule an appointment online here.
Fremont High School (Oakland). Call 510-208-4829 to schedule an appointment
Most of Alameda County’s vaccination sites have a small number of vaccines set aside for people who are eligible but did not make an appointment. These slots are limited, so making an appointment is a safer bet.
You can find out where appointments are available by calling 211, or registering with MyTurn (here)—the state’s tool that allows Californians to sign up for notifications about scheduling an appointment. The Alameda County Health Department also launched a new hotline for people who cannot book an appointment online. The number is 510-208-4829.
At your local pharmacy
You can also try calling your local pharmacy to see if they’re offering the COVID-19 vaccine. Several pharmacies are offering online appointments, as well as walk-in service. Some Bay Area pharmacies where you may be able to get vaccinated include CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Costco.
Increased vaccine eligibility comes as the U.S. looks toward vaccination as a pathway toward herd immunity and the resumption of pre-pandemic life by a goal date of July 4, as decreed by President Joe Biden.
The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, recommends all eligible people get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Currently, three vaccinations—the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna jabs–are approved for use in the United States. To date, the CDC reports that 39.7 percent of the U.S. population overall has been fully vaccinated with any one of these jabs, while California stands at 49.4 percent full vaccination.
While Johnson & Johnson only requires one injection to provide protection against the novel coronavirus, both Moderna and Pfizer require two doses, administered about a month apart, to guarantee full efficacy against the virus.
Generally, one is considered fully vaccinated approximately two weeks following the final dose—or single dose, for Johnson & Johnson—of whichever vaccine they receive.
Some side effects are reported for all three vaccines, including possible fevers, muscle aches and headaches, among other symptoms, which are generally expected to resolve in the week following vaccination. All vaccinations are considered safe and effective by the CDC and cannot cause COVID-19 infection.
Further information regarding the Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless vaccination program can be found here.
Hanna Lykke is a freelance journalist and 2021 UC Berkeley alumna.