‘The Central Valley matters. We care’: Newsom says mass vaccination site is coming

Coronavirus

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that a mass vaccination site, in partnership with the federal government, is coming to the Central Valley.

During his visit to San Diego, Newsom said more details will be given in the next number of days – and did not say exactly where the site would be located.

“That framework is exclusively targeted at equity,” Newsom said.

The COVID-19 vaccine doses provided at the vaccination site would be in addition to the doses already allocated to the counties.

Newsom’s announcement comes after local leaders and health officials have expressed frustration over the lack of doses coming into the Central Valley.

“I’ve talked to a number of representatives in the Central Valley and assured them on our efforts,” Newsom said.

At first, doses were being allocated to counties based on healthcare population, but now Newsom said they are now focusing on equity – and recognized the significant essential workforce the Central Valley is home to.

“Our essential workforce, disproportionate numbers, are represented in the Central Valley. Farmworkers, those critical workers, meat-packing facilities,” he said. “The Central Valley matters. We care. We will be prioritizing at larger scale some of these more mass vaccination efforts very, very shortly.”

Last week, Newsom announced two FEMA mass vaccination sites were coming to Oakland and Los Angeles, with the ability to administer thousands of doses a day.

Rep. Jim Costa said last week that he thinks the Save Mart Center in Fresno is a possibility for a FEMA site.

“My hope is that if we replicate what’s going on in the Bay Area and in Southern California, this FEMA site could provide as much as 7,000 shots a day,” Costa said Monday. “Help is on the way and we’re going to improve the situation.”

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner with the COVID-19 Equity Project has been spending time providing education on the vaccine to the essential and agricultural workforce.

She said increasing the number of doses being allocated in Central Valley counties is essential, given that one of the best approaches to vaccinating essential workers is going to their workplaces.

“I hope that we continue as a region to continue to advocate for those mass vaccinations sites, which are great, but also for more allocation so we can have those smaller events to reach those targeted populations,” Dr. Pacheco-Werner said.

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