South Berkeley residents in need can get a free ride to Oakland Coliseum COVID-19 vaccination appointments

The South Berkeley Mutual Aid Project is coordinating rides to the Oakland Coliseum for South Berkeley residents who can’t drive themselves to their COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Drivers who are fully vaccinated and two weeks past their final dose can sign up to be a driver on the group’s online form. Those who are partially vaccinated can still sign up, but organizers ask that they follow up after they are fully vaccinated to offer driving services.

“We haven’t yet received a ton of traction [for ride requests], we only just started flyering so we hope the project gains momentum soon,” said Ariella Brodie-Weisberg, an organizer who took over the reins of South Berkeley Mutual Aid Project from Margy Wilkinson after her passing last June.

The group’s first rides are scheduled for tomorrow and Friday, and enough drivers have signed up to offer a full schedule throughout the week, but Brodie-Weisberg said more drivers are welcome and needed.

Anyone who needs a ride can call the group at (510) 646-1282 or email southberkeleymutualaidproject@gmail.com. Rides are prioritized for BIPOC residents and those with disabilities because of the doses reserved for those groups at the Coliseum.

Drivers and passengers can request safety preferences, such as only wanting to ride with other women, Brodie-Weisnberg added. Drivers will have to clean high-touch surfaces, keep windows down for the duration of the journey and everyone in the car is required to wear masks above their nose.

There is no formal security screening process for the rides, but the South Berkeley Mutual Aid Project is contacting each volunteer driver and speaking with them prior to scheduling rides, Brodie-Weisnberg said.

Rides are currently being offered to only residents in the South Berkeley area because the volunteer-run, donation-based organization has limited scope, but they will consider expanding to offer other residents rides to the Golden Gate Fields mass vaccination site and community clinics in addition to the Coliseum if the program expands.

Residents in other parts of Berkeley can also access free and reduced-cost rides through Easy Does It services, which has partnered with the city.