How the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine helps rollout in Fresno County: ‘That changes the playbook’

Local News

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Fresno County received 32,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week, its highest weekly allocation so far. With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine now approved by the FDA, county health officials are optimistic about the vaccine rollout in the coming weeks and months.

“As we get an increased quantity of Johnson & Johnson, that changes the playbook,” said Joe Prado with the Fresno County Department of Public Health. “This really expands how we can utilize this asset within our distribution system.”

Prado said they have yet to receive notification of how many doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine they can expect for this first allocation. After this first allocation, they’re not expecting to receive more Johnson & Johnson doses until the week of March 23.

“As far as the March 23 delay, on the state call today they were stating that it could be some manufacturing issues, there wasn’t anything solid to say at this time,” Prado said.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only one dose and has easier storage requirements.

Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be better for certain populations given that it’s only one dose.

“For a person who is at high risk of being lost to follow up, whether due to homelessness or because they are a migrating laborer, for example, or any number of reasons why people may be at high risk for being lost to follow up, it makes sense to have the one-shot vaccine,” Vohra said.

On Tuesday, UCSF administered doses for those who are 65 and older and the homeless at Poverello House in Downtown Fresno.

“Vaccinating the homeless is extremely important because again they are a part of our society that is highly vulnerable,” said Sara Mirhadi, the programs officer at Poverello House.

Prado said the county is on track to reach the 200,000 doses administered thus far mark by the end of the week.

On Monday, those who work in childcare, education, agriculture, and food are eligible to get the vaccine.

“I also don’t want to get it and give it to my family, which is for me, I’m still going to work, not as close as my team as I want to be, but I also don’t want to go home and give it to my family,” said Brady Matoian, the CEO of OK produce, who got his first dose of the vaccine at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics on Tuesday.

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