Adventist Health provides vaccines to all Kings County law enforcement agencies

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Hanford Police Department, like many law enforcement agencies, has been hit hard by COVID-19.

So Captain Karl Anderson knew they needed to make the vaccine available to their officers as soon as possible.

In his persistent pursuit of that goal, Anderson made at least 20 or 30 calls, but didn't get the answer he was looking for until he connected with a recently retired Adventist Health employee.

"And I'm like, 'Hey, can you get me in touch with someone that can help?' Anderson recalled. "He got me in touch with Ed. I thank God for having friends that care about law enforcement and having connections and serving the community to where Adventist is willing to step up and help us. Honestly, they have."

The Ed he's referring to is Ed Abukhazneh, pharmacy director for Adventist Health Central Valley Network.

"We will want to utilize all the vaccine available to us to be in people's arms, that's the goal," Abukhazneh said.

Abukhazneh says because of its role as a multi-county entity (MCE) in the state's vaccination plan, Adventist Health has had enough supply to expand vaccinations beyond healthcare workers to others who are eligible under current guidelines.

Last weekend, they made the shot available to some Hanford school district employees and other Kings County residents in the Phase 1A and 1B tiers.

Now, all law enforcement agencies in Kings County, from Corcoran Police to the California Highway Patrol, have been offered their first dose in the hospital's cafeteria.

"They are obviously the first to be on the scene, they are the first to have physical contact with different subjects and they definitely need the protection," Abukhazneh said. "And we were able to help them by providing the vaccinations for them."

Kings County Sheriff David Robinson already had COVID-19 last fall.

But he got the vaccine because he doesn't want to chance getting it again or spreading it to someone else.

"My biggest thing is I want everything back open yesterday," Robinson said. "I know a lot of people feel that way and if this is a way that I can help encourage that and encourage people to get it so that way we can open everything up and kids can go to school full time, it's a big win."

Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes says about 20 members of his department signed up for the shot.

He expects there will be more.

"So we've weathered (COVID) well but the vaccines are certainly the community way of being responsible and making sure we can put an end to this thing sooner than later," Fagundes said.

Captain Anderson says his motivation for making those first calls came down to protecting Hanford Police employees.

He can't thank Adventist enough for not just answering the call, but going beyond what he thought was possible.

"If we don't have cops on the street, we can't serve the community," Anderson said. "And Adventist stepped up in such a huge way by helping us. Recognizing the need and being here for us, and ask for nothing in return."
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