Oxygen scavengers based on gallic acid (GA) usually contain a base that establishes the alkaline conditions necessary for the humidity-induced scavenger reaction. Here we measured the effect of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) on the reaction kinetics of such scavengers. The time-dependent oxygen absorption of aqueous GA solutions (pH 2.9-13.8) was determined and the results were described using a second-order kinetic model. We calculated the degree of deprotonation (DoD) of GA in the solutions from the species distribution curves, and assessed the effect of the DoD on the reaction kinetics. This revealed that both the reaction rate coefficient k and the scavenger capacity n were significantly affected by the DoD. If the DoD fell below 0.25, there was no significant reaction. Although k increased with the DoD, n reached a maximum at DoD = 0.6-0.7. In principle, target DoD values can be achieved using any base, but a strong base is more efficient because lower quantities are required. In our experiments, the amount of Na2CO3 required to reach the maximum DoD was more than twice that of NaOH. Our results provide the basis for the functional design of active packaging systems incorporating optimized GA-based oxygen scavengers.