FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Fresno County is hitting the pause button on mass vaccinations at two of its largest sites due to limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of Public Health announced on Friday.
Healthcare workers at the Fresno Fairgrounds and Sierra Pacific Orthopedics will not be administering the first dose until the county receives sufficient supply to do so, said Joe Prado, who is leading the county’s vaccine distribution effort.
However, those who received the first dose of the vaccine will be able to get the second dose. Prado said the Fresno Fairgrounds will reopen the week of Feb. 1 for second doses.
Rick Lembo, the director of sports medicine at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics (SPOC), said those who received the first dose will be able to get the second one.
“Everyone that we’ve vaccinated here at SPOC through the drive-thru will still be able to have their second dose here through the drive-thru on the date that was given on their CDC card,” Lembo said.
Prado said they requested 38,000 doses of the vaccine this week – but they only received 8,000.
That’s not nearly enough to meet their capacity. If they had the supply, Prado said they have the capacity to administer up to 30,000 doses a week in the county.
“Without any indication of us getting a sustainable increased allocation, we still from week to week will ask for additional doses, there’s no guarantee we will receive them, so our modeling has to include that we have to stay at this current dose allocation that varies from 8 to 10,000 doses a week,” he said.
Prado added that next week they will be focusing on long-term care facilities.
The third vaccination site in the county is at Central High School in Fresno, where United Health Centers has been vaccinating those 75 years and older this week. Prado said they will still be able to continue to vaccinate next week but the county still has to evaluate what their limit is.
As of Jan. 19, Prado said the Fresno County Department of Public Health received around 86,000 doses. With this pause, and with the county not knowing how many doses the they will receive in the coming weeks, it’s unclear how quickly the county will be able to move through the different phases of vaccinations.
“We’re at 86,000 doses right now. We’re nowhere near being ready to advance much further right now,” Prado said. “Unless there’s an increased allocation amount, I see we’re going to have to pause on those tiers at some level.”