Short supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the Central Valley: ‘We really are in the dark’

May 04 2021 05:30 pm

CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KGPE) – The short supply of COVID-19 vaccines coming to Central Valley counties is limiting the number of doses health officials can administer weekly.

“Because we haven’t been getting the vaccines that we need, we’re having to scale back what we’re providing,” Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said.

On Tuesday, Fresno County’s Joe Prado, who is leading the county’s vaccine distribution effort, said with the sites they have they can administer up to 30,000 doses weekly – but they’re only expecting to receive 8,000 to 10,000 doses weekly in the coming weeks.

At Sierra Pacific Orthopedics on Thursday, employees administered 1,000 doses. Those who work in healthcare and those who are 75-years-old and older are eligible. Their goal is to administer another 1,000 doses Friday. However, it is unclear what they will be able to do next week as it depends on the doses allocated to Fresno County.

“If the county were to receive more and they were able to approve more, we could probably comfortably here do around close to 1,500, if not 1,500, a day,” said Rick Lembo, the director of sports medicine at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics.

In Madera County, Public Health Director Sara Bosse said they had to cancel more than 800 vaccine appointments in order to ensure they had enough second doses for those who received the first.

“The state has been fairly silent on what allocation is going to look like moving forward,” Bosse said.

She added those appointments that were canceled will be prioritized once they’re able to administer more vaccines, but she’s unsure when that will happen.

“There aren’t a lot of conversations that are happening right now. We really are in the dark as much as others are in the community. We are looking for the state to provide guidance and to provide more transparency about what vaccine supply is available in California and what we can expect in coming weeks,” Bosse said.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that those 65-years-old and older were eligible to receive the vaccine.

“It’s very important for the governor to make sure that the messaging he’s putting out there is a message that can be supported at the county level,” Supervisor Magsig said.

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