FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Around 44,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines were shipped from the State of California to the Fresno County Health Department over the past month.
That number does not include all vaccines for the county, because some clinics and hospitals are sent in separate shipments.
Two-thirds of the doses have been given out to the public, but around 14,000 doses are still in freezers at the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
“We want to be distributing rather than storing,” said Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra. “But that takes a lot of time and logistical operations to make sure that goes successfully as we need it to.”
The vaccination process locally is broken up into several tiers.
Fresno County is currently in Phase 1A, Tiers 1 & 2, which includes all health care, nursing home, and EMT staff members.
Vohra said around 40% of healthcare officials decided not to receive the vaccine.
“Our message to the healthcare community is to get vaccinated now because, after this week, we are going to open up more tiers,” said Vohra.
Next week, Vohra says the process opens up to lab workers, primary care clinics, dentists, and pharmacy staff.
In February, Fresno County will begin Phase 1B Tier 1. This includes those over the age of 75, food and agriculture workers, education and childcare workers, and the homeless.
Phase 1B Tier 2 is expected to roll out in March and will be for those 65 years and older, and prisoners. Phase 1C will start in April and includes those over the age of 50, those with underlying health conditions, and government officials.
Vohra warns that the plan could change.
“We don’t want to have chaos in the system, obviously,” said Vohra. “But we do have to understand that we will have to be able to meet all the people that are eligible.”
Fresno County Department of Public Health asks residents to be ready to get the shot by registering on their website – and to bring proof of employment to the vaccination site.