COVID vaccinations expanding to education and ag in Fresno County

The new priority will be people in food and ag or in education and child care.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County is ready to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to a lot more people in the next week, and is making plans to reach smaller communities too.

The wait for vaccines is just about over for people in some important lines of work.

Until now, Fresno County has focused vaccinations on senior citizens, healthcare workers, and emergency services such as law enforcement.

On Monday, the new priority will be people in food and ag or in education and child care.

"I know that we have done some pilot projects and some initial rollout," said public health director David Pomaville. "We've got both sectors, I believe, ready to start receiving vaccines March 1."

The public health department's plan for expanding vaccinations relies partly on setting up temporary clinics across the county.

They want to deliver about 500 doses a day, maybe twice a week in places such as Sanger and Kingsburg, and less frequently in smaller cities.

They're also planning closed clinics - by invitation only - for some of the area's biggest employers, including Cargill and Foster Farms.

But employees at small ag and school operations won't be left out.

"I'll tell our medical providers we're flipping the switch with this tier," said Dr. Rais Vohra, the county's interim health officer. "If the person is an educator or an ag employee then go ahead and get them started."

The county has now administered more than 160,000 COVID vaccinations and more than 11% of the population has had at least one dose.

So county supervisors can finally look ahead to positive developments.

Nathan Magsig wondered about what a late April Clovis Rodeo might look like.

"They kind of have two components," said Dr. Vohra. "One of those is the sports component for which there is a professional sports guideline. We feel like we can probably permit that right away. The other component is the gathering component."

He says the number of spectators, vendors, and rides they can allow will depend on the projected tier based on new infections and test positivity.

When supervisors asked Dr. Vohra to guess when the county might jump from the purple to the red tier, he said it could happen in as little as two weeks.
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