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Mayor Ashcraft — Stay Healthy, Safe, and Strong

It’s time to get those vaccines.

The arrival of fall brings crisp weather and colorful leaves, but also some illnesses you’ll want to avoid. I asked two local physicians what advice they were giving their patients this season. Here’s what I learned.

Alameda Post - Band Aids

Alameda pulmonary and critical care physician Robert Deutsch, M.D. says,

“I recommend that everybody get the flu vaccine, and I recommend that everybody over the age of six months get the new COVID-19 vaccine. I also recommend that everybody over the age of 60 get the new RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) vaccine.”

Dr. Deutsch adds that, “Although the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine could be taken together, I personally recommend that these two vaccines be separated by one to two weeks, to lessen the severity of the mild side effects. The RSV vaccine should be taken one week apart from any other vaccine.”

Local pediatrician Anne B. Parker, M.D. offers similar advice: “As we approach fall and increased illness, we are excited to have vaccines for three major illnesses: influenza, COVID, and RSV. Even if the vaccine doesn’t completely prevent infection, it is clear to the medical community that vaccines prevent serious infection. We urge everyone to get vaccinated.”

To schedule your free COVID-19 and flu vaccines (just not on the same day, per Dr. Deutsch) visit CVS, Safeway, or Walgreens, or contact your healthcare provider.

The RSV vaccine is not free, but is available with insurance coverage, at CVS, Safeway, or Walgreens pharmacies. If you’re over 60 years old, use the links above to schedule your RSV vaccine, or contact your healthcare provider.

Alameda Post - the mayor cuts a red ribbon at Alameda's new Crunch Fitness location
Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft cuts the ribbon with Crunch Fitness General Manager, Cameron Holohan and the Alameda Chamber on Wednesday, April 5, 2023. Photo Adam Gillitt.

Alameda residents fared relatively well during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had high vaccination rates, and low death and hospitalization rates—due in large part to Alamedans’ willingness to get vaccinated and boosted, stay home when feeling sick, and wear a mask in crowded indoor settings. Those same practices will keep you, and those around you, healthy as we head into fall and winter. Schedule those vaccines today!

Free COVID tests

With the recent nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases, the federal government is again offering free COVID test kits. It’s useful to always have COVID tests on hand, and to bring a test with you when you travel. Every U.S. household may order four free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to your home. Simply visit or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to place your order.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence (DV) can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. DV is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. These behaviors include physical and/or emotional abuse, instilling fear to prevent a partner from doing what they wish to do, or forcing them to do things they don’t want to do. DV affects people of all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. In many cases, traumatized children are silent victims in homes where domestic violence occurs.

In 2022, the Alameda Police Department (APD) responded to 206 DV-related cases across the island. APD representatives are members of the City’s Domestic Violence Task Force that works with other agencies to coordinate DV prevention and intervention services to help end the cycle of DV. Task Force members include Alameda Hospital, The Family Violence Law Center, Alameda Family Services, Alameda Point Collaborative, Social Service Human Relations Board, Girls Inc. of the Island City, Alameda Boys & Girls Club, and Building Futures.

Building Futures is a non-profit organization that provides a range of services for survivors of DV, including a 24-hour help line, shelter, counseling, and more. Learn about their incredible work at the Building Futures website.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, help is available. You are not alone. Everyone has the right to live in a violence-free home. Please call Building Futures’ 24-hour crisis line: 1-866-A-WAY-OUT (1-866-292-9688).

Remember: Get vaccinated to protect yourself and others. Order your free COVID tests. And seek help if you are being abused. Together we are Alameda Strong.

Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is the Mayor of the City of Alameda. Reach her at [email protected].

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