Fresno County gives COVID-19 vaccines to other counties as demand drops

Local News

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – While other parts of the state are struggling with the lack of vaccine supply, Fresno County isn’t having that problem. In fact, the county is facing a lack of demand for the vaccine.

“We made a call to our mass vax providers, everybody is definitely seeing a reduction in demand and so we’re just going to be evaluating how much more we need to reduce those mass vax sites,” said Joe Prado, who has been leading the vaccine distribution effort in Fresno County.

He said the county was allocated 40,000 doses of the vaccine this week, but they reallocated 70% of that to other counties because of the lack of demand locally. And next week, they’re planning on requesting just 18,000 doses.

One of the counties they allocated doses to was Merced County.

“Fresno County had actually offered to give us some vaccines and I think that should help with the deficit with the Johnson & Johnson,” said Dr. Salvador Sandoval, Merced County’s health officer.

But the lack of demand in Fresno County is raising concerns as to how quickly the county will be able to return to some form of normalcy.

“We’ll never end this pandemic unless people are protected. And the best way to get people protected is to get them vaccinated. And so if we want to get back to normal, this is our best shot,” Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said.

Prado said they’re looking to expand their mobile clinics and meet people where they are.

“We’re just going to have to make adjustments – like we have through COVID response overall. Getting outside of our boxes even more so than we have been already and seeing what it’s going to take,” Prado said. “Taking the vaccine literally street by street and block by block.”

According to the most recent data on the county’s vaccine dashboard, around 32% of the county’s population has been vaccinated with at least one dose.

“The vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s up to us how long that tunnel lasts. The sooner we get our folks vaccinated, the shorter that tunnel will be,” Vohra said.

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