Fresno County health officials seeing overwhelming demand for COVID vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- People hoping to get an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait as Fresno County health officials are seeing an overwhelming demand, but little supply.

"We've had to pause first dose clinics for now because of the lack of COVID vaccines coming into Fresno County," says Fresno County Public Health Division Manager Joe Prado.

Prado says based on the supply they have at this point, they'll be focusing on second dose appointments.

"In the next two weeks, we're doing second dose clinics at the fairgrounds, and the Sierra Pacific Ortho Site as well," he said. "There's not a lot of additional first dose clinics we can do at this time."

Rick Lembo with Sierra Pacific Orthopedic says they also had to temporarily stop administering first doses due to the county shortage.

Some eligible patients were able to walk up and get a vaccination Tuesday, but they'll start administering second doses via drive-thru this week.

"As a healthcare worker, you'll register for your time and appointment slot the day your second dose is due," Lembo said. "If today, it's our Herndon location, but starting tomorrow, it'll be drive-thru.'

Prado says their goal is to is to open up more vaccination sites throughout the county to make getting a dose more easily accessible, but that can't happen unless they get more supply.

"If the government wants to increase our doses to 38,000 a week, then that's great," Prado said. "We can move that through rapidly. Until then, we're going to monitor it closely and keep second dose for our patients."

Three-thousand doses were set aside for the county food and Ag initiative. However, Prado says at this rate, it'll take longer to fully vaccinate farm and food workers, and start vaccinating teachers.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.