International Agri-Center hosts Tulare County's first mass vaccination event

More than 2,000 vaccinations are scheduled to take place at the International Agri-Center site on Friday and Saturday.
TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- In the first two hours of Tulare County's first COVID-19 mass vaccination event on Friday, volunteers administered 800 shots.

Excitement was so high that some people showed up ahead of their scheduled appointment.

So by the time Jerry Sisemore drove up for his appointment on Friday afternoon, there wasn't much of a wait at all.

"(I) pre-registered online yesterday, came out here today, and we're just flying through here," Sisemore said.

"It's a very exciting day here in Tulare County, a very exciting time," Tulare County Public Health's Carrie Monteiro said.

More than 2,000 vaccinations are scheduled to take place at the International Agri-Center site on Friday and Saturday.

Under normal circumstances, the venue would be gearing up for Tulare County's largest annual event-the World Ag Expo.

But COVID-19 concerns forced organizers to cancel this year's show.

The shots at the Agri-Center are only for Phase 1A workers who made an appointment, as well as some 65 and older residents who were added to the list on Thursday night.

"So those in Tulare County who participated in our interest form and marked 65 and older, we quickly executed direct communications to them last evening to make an appointment directly for our vaccinations today and tomorrow," Monteiro said. "In doing so, those appointments filled up within an hour."

As the county receives new shipments of the vaccine and builds their volunteer base, Tulare County Public Health Spokesperson Carrie Monteiro says there will be more mass vaccination sites like the one in Tulare.

She adds that the fastest way to find out when you can get the shot is by filling out the county's COVID-19 vaccine interest form.

"Let us know your age and your occupation," Monteiro said. "We will do our due diligence to get communications directly to you once you're eligible and once we have enough vaccine to serve you on how and where you can get an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Tulare County."

"Everybody's been incredibly friendly and professional, and it's a great experience," said Richard Osborne, one of the roughly 1,200 Tulare County residents to get their first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Friday.

They can't wait to come back for their second dose in the weeks to come.

"I'm hoping that this will be a partial solution to our pandemic and our social problems," Osborne said.
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