Why the Moderna vaccine is important for the Valley's rural areas

More than 670,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are set to arrive soon.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- More hope and help is on the way to California.

A half-million Pfizer shots have been distributed across the state so far, and now more than 670,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are set to arrive soon.

Just days after getting the green light from the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine is expected to arrive in Central California for distribution in the coming days.

"This area is exploding with cases, ICU capacity in some areas is at zero so this is really timely to begin this process, to vaccinate and help end this pandemic," said Tim Calahan with Clinica Sierra Vista.

Frontline healthcare workers and long-term care residents will receive the first of the 672,000 doses making their way to California.

Medical facilities such as Clinica Sierra Vista are expected to receive about a thousand shots in this first shipment that will be spread out across its 30 Central Valley locations.

"It's obviously a two-dose vaccine so as we administer the first we're expecting the second shipment to come in. And each person that receives the first vaccine will be pinged up and made available for the second dose 17 to 21 days after that initial dose, so it's really a logistics game," said Calahan.

The new vaccine rollout comes at a crucial time. There is almost no ICU bed space in the San Joaquin region.

The Moderna vaccine will be especially important to rural areas, like those served by Clinica Sierra Vista in Fresno and Kern counties.

Unlike its Pfizer counterpart, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in normal freezers and does not require an ultra-cold storage transportation network.

"When you talk about the Moderna vaccine and specifically our model of operation, it really is a game-changer because we're able to get this vaccine quickly and not to the storage confinements of Pfizer. And to be able to get out to areas that are miles away from a city center that's a big deal," said Calahan.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.