Fresno County mass COVID-19 vaccination sites starting to close amid lack of demand

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Alicia Del Villar was on the fence about getting vaccinated for COVID-19 but as the state reopened, masks came off and concerns surrounding variants grew, she opted to take her shot.

"Vaccines do save lives, so here we are," she said. "We definitely need protection. Some protection is better than none."

Open since January of this year, the Sunnyside COVID-19 vaccine clinic, on Kings Canyon, is equipped to administer 600 doses per day but that's no longer the need. Alicia is just one of 50 appointments they'd see Friday.

"Hopefully, people will come in and take advantage while we're still open in this community," says Angie Stillwell.

Currently offering all three doses, 2,500 people have walked through these doors.

"We came here to accomplish something and we did," says Kiera Quant. "Everyone that has wanted to get vaccinated has been vaccinated."

But Saturday will be their last day open.

In response to the lack of demand, Fresno County is closing mass vaccination sites at Sunnyside, the Fresno fairgrounds and OptumServe sites in Reedley, Kingsburg, Selma and Sanger.

"Everyone that has COVID now and is in the hospital now, which today, is 56 people, are all people that could have prevented their hospitalization if they had gotten the vaccine," says Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra.

More than 818,000 doses have been administered to Fresno County residents.

At 2,000 doses per day now, the county will fall short of its goal of 1.2 million by the end of July.

"It's hard watching people not wanting to get the vaccine when we know about the science and effectiveness at how well they're working," Dr. Vohra said.

"I knew the vaccine would wane as far as demand would wane," says Fresno County Division Manager Joe Prado. "I would have appreciated it going through July."

In addition to incentive programs, Fresno County public health will focus on smaller pop-up sites.

One of the sites remaining open seven days per week from 8 am until 2 pm is UCSF's vaccination site at Fresno City College.

UCSF's clinic at Fresno City College is equipped to administer up to 1,000 doses per day.

As classes open, they'll eventually have to relocate, but UCSF will continue vaccination services to the public at a new location and through additional mobile sites.
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