Madera County expands its COVID-19 vaccination program


MADERA, California (KSEE) – Madera County expanded its COVID-19 vaccine availability Tuesday, as health officials announced they will start offering doses to people 75 and over.

Madera County is where the Central Valley saw its first coronavirus case – as well as its first COVID-19 death. Now, 10 months later it’s moving swiftly through the state’s vaccination plan.

Madera County officials say, as of Jan. 12, they have vaccinated 3,766 people.

“We’re now at the place where we expect to move through phases and tiers pretty quickly,” Sara Bosse the Director of the Madera County Department of Public Health said.

Phase 1A in the state’s plan includes distribution to frontline workers and those most at risk. Phase 1B is where the state includes those 75 and over. Some residents were happy to hear about the progress and hopeful people would take advantage of it.

“I believe that they should take it, yes. This thing is really getting out of hand so it’ll help a lot of people out, we’re losing a lot of people,” said Madera resident Tony Meza.

Estefany Villafan says she plans on getting vaccinated when it’s her turn, but does not believe some family members like her mother will.

“I mean I know it’s a risk to take, but if it’s going to help us, might as well take it so you can be here for your kids,” she said.

Bosse said they’re ready to scale up distribution significantly and even have plans for mass vaccination, but the department first needs help.

“We need volunteers to provide shots and to monitor patients, and those are clinicians that we need, but we also need volunteers to be able to help us with things like greeting, and registration and verifying eligibility,” she said.

The department is now accepting volunteer applications.

Bosse said volunteers would be eligible to be vaccinated right away themselves as frontline workers.

Residents age 75 and over are encouraged to talk to their primary care provider about getting vaccinated first, but can also register online.

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