Questions surrounding masks, vaccine booster shots, and upcoming Oakland events mount

Questions surrounding masks, vaccine booster shots, and upcoming Oakland events mount
Photo: Oakland Museum of California
By MJ Carter - Published on May 21, 2021.

There's been a lot of talk about whether or not you should wear a mask if you're vaccinated, and there have been questions recently about booster shots for those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Vaccination status may end up being a key factor in whether Oaklanders can attend upcoming, large events like Pride.

Pfizer chairman & CEO Albert Bourla gave a recent interview to Axios in which he repeated comments he'd made earlier about the likely need for booster shots for the vaccinated down the road.

"The data that I see coming, they are supporting the notion that likely there will be a need for a booster somewhere between eight and 12 months," Bourla told Axios on Wednesday.

Also, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC on May 5 that boosters are needed.

“We think that the virus is going to continue to evolve. We said now for more than six months that boosting is going to be important,”  Bancel said. 

And while we shouldn't take pharmaceutical executives as the final authority on the topic, the nation's top public-health advocate Dr. Anthony Fauci essentially backed up these statements this week as well, saying that booster shots will likely be needed in about a year after one's first vaccination.

As Hoodline reported this week, California is waiting until June 15 to go along with the CDC's guidance around mask-wearing for fully vaccinated people. And we learned further details from the state on Friday about what restrictions will look like come June 15 — basically, masks, physical distancing, and capacity limits inside businesses will all be lifted unless individual counties decide to keep restrictions in place, based on local conditions.

Keeping all of the above information in mind, what about events like Juneteenth and Oakland Pride?

According to the event website, NAACP Oakland is hosting a Juneteenth Celebration at Temescal Recreation Area on June 19, 2021. 

On the City of Oakland website's Juneteenth information has not been updated as of today, since 2019. 

In terms of Oakland Pride, it is currently scheduled for September 11-12, 2021 — at which point, according to most expectations, life should pretty much be back to normal. Though the state is requiring that outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees, like Oakland Pride, should require proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests for all attendees — which may mean that tickets will be needed and attendees will have to attest to their status when they purchase a ticket.

In other news, Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) also just announced its reopening. 

"The Museum and its campus will reopen on June 18, 2021 with three free community access days over the weekend through Sunday, June 20," says a press release that came out this week. "This reopening follows a long period of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and more than a year of construction work for OMCA’s campus renovation project, including the reinstallation of its sculpture garden.”

OMCA's reopening just in time for the Juneteenth holiday may not be intentional, however they have intentionally made accommodations due to the pandemic. 

“During the Museum’s closure, the newly-formed safety re-opening team has been dedicated to making adjustments for the health and safety of OMCA staff and visitors, designing and implementing new protocols, adjusting on-campus experiences to meet the health recommendations of Alameda County, and creating additional signage that will help visitors navigate safely through the Museum,” the press release stated.