A COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Fresno County Fairgrounds is now equipped to administer 1,500 shots per day, according to county officials during a press conference on Tuesday.
The clinic, which began operating at reduced capacity on January 6, is open to healthcare workers in Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination schedule, as well as individuals 75 years or older. Appointments are required.
Combined with other clinics still being developed, the county could eventually offer as many as 3,000 vaccine doses per day, according to Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra—a total that may sound high but is still a long way away from critical mass. “It’s estimated that approximately 75 percent of the population will need to have protection for herd immunity to apply,” he said, or roughly 750,000 people in a county of nearly a million residents.
County Supervisor Brian Pacheco also announced that Fresno County is aiming to be the first in the state to vaccinate farm workers against COVID-19, a process that could begin by late January after federally qualified health centers in rural parts of the county gain approval to administer the vaccine. “As you know, Fresno County has the largest ag economy in the U.S. over the last two years, and it’s our priority to protect the essential workers that allow us to thrive in that industry,” he said.
Vaccine distribution varies by county, as does eligibility to receive it. So far, most Valley counties have vaccinated only healthcare workers. Madera County, however, began vaccinating residents over 75 earlier in the week, and Mariposa County has said it will soon be vaccinating school employees. Most county public health departments post vaccine information and registration details on their websites.
Following new guidance from the federal government, the California Department of Public Health on Wednesday announced that Californians over 65 would be the next group eligible to receive the vaccine, after originally having been projected to receive the shots in February or March as part of Phase 1B.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 250,000 San Joaquin residents from Merced and Mariposa counties down to Kern County have contracted COVID-19, and nearly 2,400 have died.