FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Fresno County was forced to pause its COVID-19 mass vaccinations at two of its facilities this week due to a limited supply of the vaccine. It’s unclear when counties could be receiving a significant increase in their allocations.
KSEE24 News asked California Government Operations Secretary Yolanda Richardson about the lack of supply to Central Valley counties on Tuesday.
“We continually hear about the frustration on the limit to supply. I’m not specifically aware of Fresno County’s specific situation,” Richardson said. “We’ll definitely reach out to them to work on how they’re going to be able to serve their communities.”
States throughout the county are facing limited supply of the vaccine.
Richardson said they’ve been in contact with the new administration, making it clear that knowing how much vaccine the state could expect in advance will help with distribution.
“We don’t know when that’s going to change but definitely making sure they understand that’s something we are looking forward to.” she said.
Joe Prado, who is leading the vaccine distribution effort in Fresno County, said the county asked for 38,000 doses this week – but only received 12,000 in total for the week.
As counties in the Central Valley continue to develop plans for rolling out the vaccine and wait on more supplies, they’re also facing high rates of transmission. It comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the stay-at-home order statewide on Monday.
All counties in the Central Valley, except for Mariposa County, are in the most restrictive Purple Tier.
According to the state, Fresno County is experiencing a 15.3% COVID-19 positivity rate and its case rate sits at 65.1 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Fresno County have decreased since the peak of this surge, but numbers still remain high.
Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said he’s concerned that the county could see another uptick in cases.
“It’s disorienting, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect this announcement to come as soon as it did,” Vohra said regarding Newsom’s decision to lift the stay-at-home order. “It was abrupt. We’re glad that people are going to be allowed to do some things. We’re just hoping they do them as safe a manner as possible. What we’re seeing and what we’re feeling as frontline healthcare providers is still that sense of exhaustion.”
He added that given that mixing could increase and the new variants of the virus, now is not the time to let our guards down.
“I’m hoping that we plateaued and that we’re on our way down but because of the mixing that we know happens with increased activities and because of these new variants that are more contagious, it won’t be surprising if we have a spring uptick,” Vohra said.