'We have been ignored': Local leaders say Valley deserves more resources to fight COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The federal government is opening their first test mass vaccination sites in California.

The two sites will be in the Bay Area and in southern California.

They're part of a bigger effort to open more mass vaccination sites across the country in President Joe Biden's first 100 days in office.

The new sites at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, and at CSU Los Angeles.

But the locations are frustrating for at least one Fresno City official who says the Central Valley is being overlooked.

Councilmember Mike Karbassi is introducing a resolution to the board on Thursday, which would request a dramatic increase of COVID-19 vaccinations be sent to Fresno County.

"I want them to make sure they know we have half the vaccination rate of the state and we are in dire need of more vaccines... Unfortunately, the state of California is putting us at the bottom of the list when we have one of the highest poverty rates in the state, making us more vulnerable for spreading COVID," said Fresno City councilmember Mike Karbassi.

Assemblymember Jim Patterson is outraged by the governor's decision, saying the Central Valley meets the equity criteria, and more needs to be done to protect the area's seniors and the thousands of farmworkers.

"We have to strongly get together with other leaders in central California and we've got to continue to tell this governor, 'You have to fix this, you have to say yes'... We have some of the most needy workers and essential people in agriculture, and we have been ignored, and this is beginning to be too much of a recurring story from this governor," he said.

Congressman Jim Costa said the two sites are starting in areas with the highest population.

He said he's been part of the believes state and federal goverment.

"We've passed all the checks on the OES working in coordination with FEMA and they've signed off on the Save Mart site and we're waiting on more designated sites across the country, and I believe the San Joaquin Valley will be among those. We're going to get additional FEMA sites, including one in the Valley, within the month or even sooner," he said.

The Biden administration is working to purchase 200 million more doses of the vaccines to hopefully have an estimated 600 million by mid-summer.
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