FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Some state and local officials feel snubbed by Sacramento when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
The state and the federal government announced Wednesday two FEMA mass vaccination sites will start operations on Feb 16. Neither of the sites will be located in the Central Valley.
“To be ignored like this?” exclaimed Assemblymember Jim Patterson. “I think it is a slap in the face.”
Central Valley health and government officials begged the federal government to come – but got shut down, at least for now.
The two sites will be able to vaccinate between 5,000 and 6,000 people per day and will be run out of the Oakland Coliseum and California State University Los Angeles.
“We are basically shaking our heads saying why are we being ignored again?” stated Patterson.
The centers are part of President Joe Biden’s plan to have 100 vaccination sites across the nation in his first 100 days.
Despite the fact that Fresno County is one of the poorest counties in the country, Newsom said the locations were chosen base on equity.
“So those communities that are often left behind are prioritized,” said Newsom.
Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes is disappointed by the decision but said even without the site, the county has the ability to do over 40,000 vaccines. He said the real problem is that Fresno is only getting a quarter of that number.
“It is completely ridiculous,” said Mendes. “It is not a logistical issue. It is a supply problem.”
Congressman Jim Costa said he is in constant communication with FEMA and believes soon the Save Mart Center will be added to the list of FEMA vaccine distribution sites.
“We are all in this together and it is going to get better,” said Costa. “We are going to find ourselves in a situation in the next two to four months where we can provide enough vaccines for 80% of the country to be vaccinated.”
Fresno County Department of Public Health has not been made aware of any centers coming locally.