Fresno County foothills COVID vaccine clinic reveals need for outreach

More than 300 people came to get vaccinated in the first two hours.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno medical center took its COVID vaccination clinic on the road up into the foothills Thursday and found a community with a lot of need.

Based on her early appearance in line for a vaccine at the Sierra Oaks Senior Center, Sharon Fischer's enthusiasm for the COVID-19 vaccine was obvious.

But it's a relatively new development.

"Initially, I was really hesitant and now I'm excited," Fischer said. "I feel like it will be a whole other layer of armor around me."

Fischer saw friends and family members get the vaccine without any reactions, and she was convinced to follow their lead.

But the idea of driving to Fresno to wait in line took away some of her enthusiasm.

So she jumped at her chance when Sierra Pacific Orthopedic Center - or SPOC - announced Thursday's vaccine clinic in Tollhouse.

"How important is it to you and people in this community that they're bringing the vaccine to you?" an Action News reporter asked her.

"Very important," she said. "It just touches my heart because it's hard for some people to get down the hill."

"There remains a pretty substantial need in the age-related tiers in the foothill community of Fresno County, said SPOC C.O.O. Jeremy Ealand.

More than 300 people came to get vaccinated in the first two hours and Dr. Beau Kalmes and the nursing staff got shots in arms pretty quickly, but the line extended about a quarter-mile to Sierra High School and didn't die down.

Ealand told us the people they served probably would've been left behind without this trip into the foothills.

"And as long as they keep showing up like this, I'll find a way to get up here and take care of them," he said.

The SPOC staff intends to head back to Tollhouse next week to vaccinate anyone 65 and older who they might've missed, and to start their focus on school staff at Sierra Junior High School and at Sierra High.
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