Drop in demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Sierra Pacific Orthopedics COVID-19 vaccine clinic was nearly empty Wednesday morning.

Jeremy Ealand with Sierra Pacific Orthopedics says the slow-down has been a trend since vaccines became more widely available earlier this month.

"When 16 and over opened, which we opened two weeks ago, I did expect a rush," he said. "And it just never materialized."

At the height of distribution, about 800 appointments per day were available at SPOC. Wednesday, just 125 appointments were made for first dose shots.

Ealand says the drop in demand is likely because most people who want a vaccine already have one.

"This is the percentage of the population that is interested in receiving the vaccine," he said.

Because of the slowdown, SPOC will soon stop its vaccine services. Friday will be the last day they offer first-doses. Until then, they will vaccinate any adult who shows up to the clinic, even without an appointment.

"We were happy to have the opportunity to help the public and take care of the vaccine need while there was a need," said Ealand. "But now that there isn't, there's plenty of places that folks can get it."

The clinic has administered around 43,000 doses since it opened. Now, they'll be giving about 4,000 excess doses down to Los Angeles County, where state health officials say there's a greater need.

At the Fresno County Fairgrounds, health officials say they are shrinking the COVID vaccination operations. Originally, 2,500 doses were offered per day. The has recently only seen a need for 600 to 1,000 doses per day.

Meantime in Southwest Fresno, Clinica Sierra Vista is ramping up vaccine efforts this weekend. There will be 500 doses of Moderna available at a vaccine clinic Sunday intended to target neighboring Fresno zip codes that fall below the average vaccine rates in the Central Valley.

Registration is available on the Clinica Sierra Vista website, but staff will be taking walk-ins as well from 8 am until 4 pm at the Elm Community Health Center.
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