Fresno City Council pleads with President Biden for more COVID-19 vaccine doses

'We're not getting our fair share from the state,' said Fresno City Council Member Mike Karbassi.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The City of Fresno is making a direct plea to President Biden, hoping to get more COVID vaccines into local arms.

The systems are already in place for Fresno County to vaccinate 45,000 people a week, according to public health officials.

But the actual number of completed vaccinations is nowhere close.

"We're not getting our fair share from the state," said Fresno City Council Member Mike Karbassi.

He's joining county supervisors who have complained about the local allotment of shots for a couple weeks now.

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The state's own data shows 72,656 vaccines administered in Fresno County as of Feb. 3, about 7.3 per 100 residents.

Compare that with 8.6 in Los Angeles County or 9.5 in Santa Clara County.

But state officials say the vaccines are going to counties with qualifying residents, and especially to counties putting their vaccines to use.

"Some of them have deployment of 90%, 75% of their stockpile," said Fresno City Council Member Miguel Arias. "The last time we checked in Fresno County, we had 40% deployment."

Counties have had an unsteady supply, though, and Fresno County has held back some supply to make sure they had enough vaccine to give scheduled second doses.

So now, the city council unanimously adopted a resolution asking the president and others to intervene.

"I'm hoping that this resolution not only demonstrates that Fresno County needs more vaccinations, but that we're ready to step forward and help really augment the vaccination deployment in our community," said Fresno City Council Member Esmeralda Soria.

Soria says organizations like Fresno City College are gearing up to start new, public mass vaccination campaigns.

One possible change could see vaccine allocations come directly to the city, which could then use its existing partnerships for mass testing to get shots in arms.

But supply is the key to everything.

"The only way we're going to get through this pandemic right now and have herd immunity and safely open our schools and businesses - so we can all make a living and our children have fruitful lives - is herd immunity," said Karbassi. "Without vaccine, it's never going to happen."
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