California residents traveling to Fresno County for COVID-19 vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Millions of Americans are hoping to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Some on the hunt for the shot are even willing to travel hundreds of miles to Fresno just to ensure they get that shot.

A percentage of the people who go to get vaccinated at the UCSF COVID19 Equity Vaccination site are coming from outside of the county, however, UCSF Dr. Kenny Banh says they're not turning people away.

Dr. Banh said, "A larger percentage of those out of county are really from the San Joaquin Valley, down from about Bakersfield, up from Madera, coming in from out of the county."

Dr. Banh says they are not turning anyone away.

The COVID-19 Equity Project was created to provide healthcare services for underserved areas in Fresno County.

If people who come in are qualified, Dr. Banh says they are vaccinating them, just not recruiting them.

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"There's a lot of people who want to get vaccinated in the Bay Area who can't get into appointments and there are no walk-in sites, so we've had people drive all the way in just to get vaccinated from the Bay," Dr. Banh said.

On Twitter, Lauren Donohue traveled more than two hours from Redwood City to Fresno for her shot. On her page, she said, "Omg, I'm actually going to cry. I was finally able to get a vaccination appointment! Have to drive to Fresno, but who cares!"

Dr. Banh says he believes vaccination access is harder in bigger cities, plus most vaccine sites in those bigger cities require you to have an appointment. UCSF Fresno doesn't require one.

"There are more people who are willing, anxious and hunting for vaccines than they are in this region," Dr. Banh said.

Right now, the UCSF Vaccination site at Fresno City College is vaccinating all individuals 16 and older.

It's a first-come, first-serve clinic.

About 40 percent of people 16 and older in Fresno County have already received their first dose, but Dr. Banh says that's still not enough to reach herd immunity.

"We want to break 1500, we want to see if we can hit 2,000, but we've hit almost 800 on our busiest days, but that's it. That's not because our staff isn't ready, it's because we need more," Dr. Banh said. "We need the patients to come through."

On Monday, the UCSF vaccination site administered 449 vaccinations, but once fully ramped up, this site will be able to vaccinate a couple thousand people every day.
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