FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – According to the Fresno County Department of Public Health, the county is expecting 43,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week, its highest weekly vaccine allocation thus far – 10,000 of them are the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that 40% of the state’s vaccines would be going to vulnerable communities in the state, many in the Central Valley.
The state is looking at the lowest quartile of California’s healthy places index. Several factors are considered including education, transportation, access to healthcare, and housing.
“I think what it’s going to do is we’re going to evaluate where we’re at with those zip codes and where that’s going. It gives us more focus and more intention on what we’re already doing,” said Joe Prado, who is leading the vaccine distribution effort in Fresno County.
Prado said they’ve already been targeting those underserved areas of the county, but following Newsom’s announcement, it gives them an opportunity to determine what areas they can improve on.
Not everyone who lives in these vulnerable neighborhoods can currently get a vaccine, Prado said. They still have to fall under the tiers that are eligible.
“That is something that we’re still enforcing at all of our clinics,” Prado said.
Currently in Fresno County, those who are eligible include those who are 65 and older and residents who work in food, agriculture, education, and childcare.
On March 15, those with certain underlying health conditions will become eligible.
Although the county has been seeing an increase in allocation, it’s still unclear when other residents will become eligible.
“We’re really ecstatic that there are more vaccines coming into the county, but as you’ll recall, when we first started our vaccine rollout, we really estimated that we need to be at 50 to 60,000 a week, and so we still have room to improve in terms of number of vaccines coming into the county just to get to our goal,” Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said.