The distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine in Central California

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local hospitals have been anxiously awaiting this week's arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The first shipment is expected to arrive Tuesday.

The pandemic is now in its ninth month so the vaccine will also serve as a shot of confidence in the fight against the coronavirus.

Nearly 8,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine are now headed to the Fresno County Health Department. About 40,000 more doses are expected by the end of the month.

Fresno County Community Health Division Manager Joe Prado said, "We expect to receive our first shipment to arrive in the next 24 hours so as we receive notification, we'll be able to take receipt in the next 24 hours."

Fresno County will then distribute the vaccine to hospitals so frontline workers can be protected from the virus.

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Prado said, "We have orders for tomorrow to deliver vaccine tomorrow and the following day so I'd say shortly thereafter, you should be able to see vaccine starting to get into some of our health care workers."

Medical staff around the Valley and into the foothills are expected to have the vaccine available by the end of the week.

Valley Children's in Madera County is one of four vaccine storage and distribution sites in the Valley.

We asked Madera County Health Officer Dr. Simon Paul how soon the shipment would arrive and he answered, "It's supposed to be this week but I'm waiting until I see the actual shipment and tracking information."

Fresno and Tulare counties both have the low-temperature freezers needed to store the Pfizer vaccine.

Fresno State has also donated a freezer to Community Medical Centers which can store 95,000 more doses of the vaccine. Temperatures need to reach 94-degrees below zero to store Pfizer vaccine.

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The pandemic is in its 9th month, so that first shipment also serves as a shot of confidence in the fight against the coronavirus.

Kaiser Permanente in Fresno expects to get their shipment by Wednesday or Thursday and vaccinate health care workers in areas with high-risk exposure to the coronavirus.

St. Agnes says their vaccination process will operate similar to a drive-thru testing site, and be staggered over several weeks.

Healthcare workers who are vaccinated will be observed for at least 15 minutes after the vaccination for any adverse reactions, then have to return 21 days later for a second dose.

Along with the Pfizer vaccine, Fresno County is expected to receive 14,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of December.

Later this month, vaccines are expected to be delivered to several commercial pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens under a federal program.

They will provide a staff to administer those to those in skilled nursing facilities.

That program is slated to start in Fresno County the week of December 28th.

Madera County Health Officer Dr. Simon Paul is understandably excited a coronavirus vaccine was on its way. He said, "It gives people an end in sight, so you can continue to be careful for another month or two, right."

Tulare County expects close to 3,000 doses to arrive in the next day or so.

Carrie Monteiro of the Tulare County Health Department explained, "This is just the first allocation and shortly after we're going to have others coming behind it and we do have a window for the Pfizer vaccine of 21 days of that second dose so if that comes in, we're thrilled we have the capability to hold it.

Mariposa County will be splitting its vaccine shipment with Tuolumne County, which is the fourth valley storage site. Mariposa County will receive a portion of the minimum state shipment of 975 doses this week.
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