Fresno County health officials seeing improvement in vaccination efforts

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local health leaders say Fresno County is moving in the right direction as the case rate improves and vaccinations continue.

By Friday, about 80,000 first doses and 20,000 second doses had been administered.

"It's a phenomenal time right now because we hit our first 100,000 doses in Fresno County," says Community Health Division Manager Joe Prado. "Definitely a high clap for that because this is what Fresno County can do when we all come together through all of our partnerships and collaboration."

This week, county public health officials say they received 19,000 vaccines instead of their usual 8,000.

RELATED: Central California COVID-19 vaccines: How to make an appointment, latest information by county

Next week, the allotment is expected to be 18,000 doses.

The health department says come March, it'll still be making headway in the Phase 1B category. That category includes seniors, educators, emergency, grocery, and agriculture workers.

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By Friday, about 80,000 first doses and 20,000 second doses had been administered in Fresno County.

"For the San Joaquin Valley, food and ag is big, and that is a large population to work through," says Prado.

The announcement comes after Governor Gavin Newsom visited Fresno this week to announce that a mass vaccination site would soon come to the Central Valley, but couldn't yet provide an exact date or location.

RELATED: New vaccine site coming to Reedley College, governor is met with protestors chanting 'recall Newsom'

The county is now focusing on community outreach as well as expanding opportunities. A vaccine clinic at Gaston Middle School in southwest Fresno is set to have its soft opening next Thursday and Friday for those 65 and older.

"So we're having to do very targeted education, and so our African American coalition," Prado said. "As we evaluate what we're seeing in the preliminary data. This is why it's so key for them to get up and running a Gaston Middle School because they are going to address the health and equity in that community in that population here starting next week."

In addition, the state is partnering with OptumServe to begin offering vaccines at some of its COVID testing locations.

RELATED: CVS starts administering COVID-19 vaccines. Where to get one in Central CA

Registration for the Reedley College site is expected to be up and running by early next week and will allow people to sign up for their first and second doses at the same time.

By February 23, the county will transition to using the state's website "MyTurn" to help people get in line for the shots.

This week, CVS began administering federal allocations of the vaccine in California, and Rite Aid is now joining that effort.

RELATED: CVS, Rite Aid start administering COVID-19 vaccines. Where to get one in Central CA

"So you're slowly seeing this increased capacity," Prado said. "Now, at the national pharmacy level as well, which is a huge plus, to have them here in Fresno County. And that's just going to be able to help our communities, and really access this vaccine."

Health officials recommend those with underlying conditions get in touch with their physician and find out if they should get the vaccine immediately.
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