New vaccination site for farmworkers opens in Fresno, more vaccines expected in CA next month

FRESNO, Calif. -- Areas with large communities of farm and agriculture workers, including the Central Valley, will start seeing a boost in COVID-19 vaccine doses available next month, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

The governor visited the Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM) in Fresno County, where the state has set up a new vaccine site to administer doses to farm workers in the area.

FIRM is one of ten sites that have popped up in rural communities within Central California. Earlier this week, Newsom visited a site set up in Arvin in Kern County.

The rural locations will administer 34,000 doses specifically to farmworkers and then eventually provide vaccines to people who may not have transportation or the ability to make online appointments to visit larger vaccination sites.

The state has pledged a 58% increase in vaccine allocations to the Central Valley starting next week. Newsom said these vaccines are part of the plan to reach more essential food workers, many of whom live in Central California.

A federally-supported mass vaccination site doesn't look to be coming to the Central Valley in the near future. Newsom said he couldn't provide an update on when the area could establish one. He noted California already has two sites, and the Biden administration is working on getting others built in other states.

California has issued more than 8 million vaccines as of Friday. Newsom said supply is still an issue, but the anticipated emergency use authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that could come as soon as Friday evening would likely give the state a significant boost.

He said California plans to receive more than 380,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine in the coming weeks, and he hopes California's vaccine allocation will continue to increase by the end of March.



The governor and Central Valley leaders all said the new doses would provide hope and a light at the end of the tunnel for an area that the virus has hit hard.

California's positivity rate continues to decline. It now sits at 2.7% compared to one month ago, which was at 7.9%.


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