Fresno County addressing logistical hiccups as it expands COVID vaccine rollout

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A few hiccups are bringing criticism for the COVID vaccine rollout in Fresno County as it expanded who can get shots this week.

But a lot of people are having success with getting the long-awaited protection from the virus.

Mass vaccination sites have opened at the Fresno fairgrounds and through a couple of private healthcare providers.

Action News is hearing complaints along the way about logistical problems popping up, but some are getting addressed quickly.

The county has accelerated vaccine deliveries up to about 3,000 shots going out Friday alone, with numbers expected to climb even higher in the coming weeks.

But the expansion provides new hurdles, some of which the county may have already learned how to jump.

John Kirby and his wife rolled up their sleeves and got the COVID vaccine in the Central High School parking lot Friday.

They spent quite a bit of time trying to find shots before arriving at the campus.

First, they ran around in circles on Fresno County's website trying to get an appointment at the Fresno Fairgrounds, and then they saw miles of cars circling Sierra Pacific Orthopedics.

"The line was around Spruce and Cedar and Alluvial, so we didn't get into that," Kirby said.

Sierra Pacific takes patients without appointments on a first-come, first-served basis.

The first car in line for Friday's doses came around midnight -- a man saving a space for his grandmother.

"We got here and just put the mattress in the back of the minivan and just slept it out," Diego Moreno, of Fresno. "Can't complain, man. She's going to get the vaccine, so I'm all smiles. There's nothing to complain about."

The line got so long, they had more people waiting by 6 am than they had available vaccines.

The problem at the fairgrounds was a line of a different sort.

SkyView30 showed long lines of people - mostly 75 and older - waiting for their vaccines Thursday. Some waited up to two hours.

By Friday, the lines were much shorter. Wait times were usually around 15 minutes, and patients recognized the difficulty of rolling out this mass vaccination effort.

"I feel like it took a little bit longer than I wished, but we're still in the first wave of people getting vaccines," said Jacob Dunham, of Fresno.

"We're just hoping everyone gives us some patience as we figure out the kinks of building this," Dr. Rais Vohra, the county's interim medical officer. "We don't until we actually do it just the logistics and the traffic flow may actually look like. We just need to do a few iterations, I think before we get it right."

The county is planning to expand a lot further and faster as soon as next week.

This week, Dr. Vohra trained almost 100 medical providers to safely administer vaccines.
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