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Vaccine Supersite Iinterview with Tamara Frijmersum

[BEGIN TRANSCRIPT]

(The interviewer starts with an introduction)

Ann Lynn Parker: Hi! Thank you for joining us. Glad you could grab the opportunity to answer some questions related to the vaccination process at the Oakland supersite near the Coliseum. Can you introduce yourself?

Tamara: Hi, my name is Tamara Frijmersum and I work as a teacher assistant at CSD.

Ann Lynn: Awesome! And your name sign is…?

Tamara: Sign name (index finger pointed upward at temple of head and shaking sideways as the finger descents). I have curly hair (points to her hair).

Ann Lynn: All right… Could you share your experience with us from the beginning to end at the vaccine supersite? Also tell us any helpful tips and words of caution for the community.

Tamara: Sure, I’m more than happy to. Someone told me about this link — myturn.ca.gov — that website is where you have to register. When I checked out the website, I had to read carefully. I entered my information and I assumed that they would contact me directly with available slots, either by text or email. A week later, while at work as I was in a meeting on zoom, someone urged me to check out open slots for vaccination appointments. I asked them if the people in charge of vaccination appointments would contact me via text and I found out that I had to register. I tried to sign up for that following Thursday but all the time slots were full and I didn’t make it. I was told to wait until next Tuesday to try again. The next day on Friday, someone alerted me that there were some available slots for Sunday and I fetched my slot. I was relieved. I received a confirmation message along with a QR code. On Sunday, my appointment was scheduled for 10 o’ clock in the morning. I had to figure out my travel time, assuming that there might be some traffic. I decided to leave at 9 AM since I live in Fremont and I had to drive to Oakland. As I drove towards the supersite, I was surprised to see no traffic buildup on the freeway. When I entered the supersite, there were already a lot of cars lined up. One of the medical workers approached me and I notified them that I’m Deaf. The worker immediately called for a placard to put under my windshield that I would need an ASL interpreter. I navigated through the short line to where the interpreter would be. It was difficult to understand the workers who wore masks and they were instructing me where to go. I was a little lost due to lack of understanding what they were saying. Finally I spotted the interpreter who flagged me down. They drove in front of me in a golf cart and told me to follow them. I saw many lines of cars and armed soldiers standing as they were assisting. When I entered the canopy, they gave me the “ok” signal to proceed for my turn. I was so impressed with the efficiency of order. The interpreter approached my car and translated my information to the medical workers. Once they asked for my identification, another worker approached me and was ready to vaccinate me. I was a bit taken aback when they told me that I was done after waiting at the “15-minute rest stop.” When I drove away from that section, another interpreter waved to get my attention and let me know that another colleague was nearby. Before I left, one of the interpreters asked for the medical worker if I felt alright and I was dismissed. I looked at my watch and realized that I arrived at 9:30 and left at 9:50. Everything whizzed by in twenty minutes! As I drove home, I pondered about the effectiveness of the vaccination program. Later in the day, I felt slightly sore in the injection area on my arm but I felt fine otherwise.

Ann Lynn: Oh that’s good. Wow! Time flew by quickly. Curious… do you have other tips for people?

Tamara: I suggest that when you register on My Turn website, make sure you get a hold of any available slot you see immediately because a lot of people are vying for available slots quickly. You cannot be choosy when the next available slot will be so grab the first one immediately. Be forewarned.

Ann Lynn: That’s important to know and keep in mind. Great, thank you Tamara for your time! Have a great day.

Tamara: You too.

[END TRANSCRIPT]

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