Vaccine Supersite Interview | Clark Brooke
Interview with Clark Brooke
(The interviewer starts with an introduction)
Ann Lynn Parker: Hi! Glad you could join us. Thank you. Would you mind if you could introduce yourself…?
Clark: Thank you for having me. I’m Clark Brooke. I work at California School for the Deaf as Superintendent. Also, I’ve been a community member here in the Bay Area for a long time. I love the Bay Area.
Ann Lynn: Awesome! Now with the vaccination supersite at the Oakland Coliseum, thanks to FEMA for setting up and DCARA for partnering as part of sister agencies in CA to serve the Deaf communities in Bay Area and beyond in Northern CA (coastline), can you share your experience in your position role working with the state and yourself as a community member? Share your experience from beginning to end.
Clark: Ok… Vaccinations are an interesting process. With many events unfolding in America and a plethora of news sharing differentiating information, just like closing of school and questions surrounding reopening, things are slowly clearing up. The state asked me to come up with a list of names of employees at CSD Fremont, and I submitted the list as requested. This morning I got vaccinated. I will explain the process momentarily; it was a positive experience. I encourage you to go and get vaccinated. I will share some tips. The list (of names) was originally intended to be submitted to Alameda County or the local health department, they are in the process of setting up mobile (RV) sites. Mobile sites could be set up at schools or other locations; however when the supersite popped up in Oakland at the Coliseum and A’s baseball stadium, I grabbed the opportunity to go there. I registered at myturn.ca.gov to do registration; yet I ran into some problems. I knew I was eligible because I work in the field of education. If you work in the “front line” field such as grocery stores, school, or anything related, you are eligible to register now. I tried again to register about two weeks, no, that was about a week ago, last Tuesday. One staff member informed me that they successfully got vaccinated. Of course I wanted to get vaccinated immediately so I tried to register again. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I finally got through and was able to register my slot. I summoned my wife to register right away. I got the appointment for today at 9:30 AM. My wife’s appointment was 11:30 AM.
This morning when I drove to the supersite… One thing, make sure you have your driver’s license or ID ready. The registration website said you must have proof of employment, and when I went there today, they didn’t ask me for proof. Still, I recommend you to bring proof of your employment letter because you never know. Some people who are stationed at the checkpoints may just let you through or some are very strict and will ask for such information. You never know. Make sure you are prepared — your letter of employment, ID with current date like “2020/21” shown, and your driver’s license. When you check in at the checkpoint, they will scroll up to see if your information matches the registration. When I arrived at the supersite, I arrived 15 minutes early to give myself extra time. It is a good thing I arrived early because there were long lines of cars in front of me. At exit 37, I tried to cut in a lane, but people wouldn’t let me. Exit 37 is where the football stadium is, and the lines were very long! So I drove up to the traffic light. There was a CHP cruiser parked because they were preventing people from cutting in lines or making illegal turns. So I turned right, no I meant left and tried to make an u-turn. Some signposts have illegal u-turns posted and there are none. I drove up to the next u-turn lane and I was glad I could do that. I waited until the lane where I was driving in, and when there was space, I could proceed to entering the supersite. There were police stationed everywhere and directing traffic. There were three lanes going forward
As I approached the final checkpoint where the person indicated where I should go, it is important that you don’t gesture that you cannot hear, but sign “I’m Deaf and I need an interpreter” in normal ASL. They summoned an interpreter right away through their walkie talkies. The interpreter came up to me and readily assisted me. He told me to follow the cart that he rode on. Instead of driving through the long lane, I took the shortcut as I followed the cart to the specific site where the vaccinations take place. I parked and waited until it was my turn. They asked me some questions like, have you been sick with COVID-19 before? Do you get sick easily? Did you get the flu shot recently? And other questions to make sure they had all the information. They asked me if I gave them permission to to inject with COVID-19 vaccine and I confirmed yes. They checked off their device and called for the person who vaccinated people. When they vaccinated me, it felt nothing, not painful at all. With flu shot, it feels a bit sore, but with COVID-19 vaccine, it feels like a prick on the arm. They asked me if everything was all right. I had to follow the interpreter as they walked next to my car towards the next section. There was a group of National Guard stationed as summoned by FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency who is overseeing the supersite. I waited in the area where nurses were observing for 15 minutes to check for any adverse reactions. After I waited for 15 minutes, they asked me if I felt okay and I gave them the thumbs up. I left and it took a total of 21 minutes, that’s all! From the moment I arrived when I got off the short exit… If you use the other exit, it would probably take you longer. I thought to myself, 21 minutes that’s all and I felt great! No pain! I encourage you to get vaccinated to protect yourself.
Ann Lynn: Wow! Curious… do you have other tips for people other than taking the short exit?
Clark: The other tip is — trust. I know you might feel uncomfortable and I suggest you do research, participate in webinars, ask friends and family about their experiences. There are two kinds — Moderna and Pfizer and both are good. Data shows no significant difference on one over the other. Whichever you get, go ahead and get it . I read that if a lot of people get vaccinated, the virus will slowly disappear because herd immunity is developed. The more protection, more likely the virus will not thrive. I also learned that the vaccine has rNA – resistant to the virus to prevent it from taking your cells as if they are food. That’s why I think it’s important to trust science. There are some skeptics who think that vaccinations are a political issue. I’m focused on the scientific evidence. I never thought of this as I initially was skeptical myself. A friend of mine told me, “Look… UK already did that (people getting vaccinated) a while ago, and look… there are no problems. If there were problems then we would know about that in the news. That’s what I think — trust the process.
Ann Lynn: Great, thank you Clark for your time! I appreciate it.
Clark: Thank you. I look forward to seeing everyone healthy and things getting back to normal in our community.