Vaccine confusion following conflicting messaging from state and county

Local News

FRESNO, California (KGPE) – As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, there’s growing confusion about who is eligible and where to get the shot. 

On Tuesday, Fresno County officials announced a vaccine timeline with Wednesday being the first day the vaccine would be available to people 75 years and older. But on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced anyone 65 years and older were eligible, causing confusion at Fresno County vaccination sites. 

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said the county is still prioritizing those 75 years and older but, starting early next week, they hope to be able to expand to those 65 and older.

At the Fresno Fairgrounds Wednesday, home to the county’s largest vaccination site, lines snaked across the parking lot. Some people there said they waited more than two hours for their dose.

Magsig said that was largely in part due to many people showing up without registering first – which is something requested by Fresno County.

“The County of Fresno is working with everyone who is showing up – but as you can see today there are thousands who came out, many of whom did not register online so it creates a bit of a bottleneck,” said Magsig.

For Davis and Kathy Cavagnaro, the wait was worth it if it meant they were one step closer to seeing their grandchildren. 

“It was just a couple of hours and we figured this was important let’s get it taken care of,” said David.

They were among many at the Fresno Fairgrounds Wednesday who heard the governor’s announcement and were under the impression it was open to people 65 and older. 

“I thought it would be full but we were able to get appointments,” said Kathy.

Those who didn’t have appointments weren’t turned away, but Magsig said it’s important for people to register not just for equity, but for vaccine allocation. 

“At this point and time, we do have enough vaccines to make sure we vaccinate those individuals who are of course registering online but with the influx of folks who haven’t registered it’s becoming a challenge but we will meet the needs of the public,” said Magsig.

Another need the county and city are working on is outreach to communities that may have difficulties accessing or using the internet. Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez said some Hmong and Spanish-speaking residents in his district have not been able to register.

“What you’ll see in the coming weeks is the city of Fresno and the county deploying community-based organizations we are working with to facilitate a lot of that process so our folks can get registered,” said Chavez.

Click here to register for an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Fresno County.

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