Fresno County health officials still urging vaccines, masks as mask mandate ends

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With the omicron variant still very present in Central California, Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra says vaccines are still the top priority.

Right now, about 40% of fully vaccinated people in Fresno County have received a booster too.

Health officials say about 1,300 doses are being administered each day, but Fresno County is seeing a 46 percent decrease in vaccinations.

"During the surge, our vaccine doses per day would increase and then when the surge starts coming down, we start seeing less people going out and getting vaccinated," says Joe Prado.

Right now, 413 people are hospitalized due to the virus.

Even as the mandatory mask mandate was lifted statewide for people who are fully vaccinated, Dr. Vohra reminds people that those who aren't vaccinated should still be wearing masks and everyone is still required to wear them in places like hospitals, schools and airports, among other high-risk areas.

"That may be unpopular in some circles, but there's a very good reason to be doing that," he said. "We still need to be able to protect people in high-risk situations."

Dr. Vohra says more variants will be inevitable, which is the purpose for the SMARTER endemic plan released by the governor this week.

RELATED: Newsom details plan to move CA from pandemic to 'endemic'

"We just hope that we have enough protections in place and enough scientific understanding to give us a lot of lead time," he said.

As far as access to antibodies and COVID at-home pill treatments, Dr. Vohra says people will have to be patient.

"Imagine just taking a pill for five days in the same way that you take a Zpack when you have a sore throat," he said. "That might actually be a reality in the next few months."
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.