Fresno County has the capacity to administer at least 30,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine weekly, according to county health officials, and yet its two mass vaccination clinics will not be open to new appointments next week. The recent revelation of no national vaccine stockpile has disrupted local supply, in Fresno and throughout the San Joaquin Valley.
Back in December, health officials knew long in advance when they’d be getting vaccine shipments, and how much. Not so anymore. Without knowing how many doses will arrive next week, Joe Prado with the Fresno County Department of Public Health says the county will close its large-scale vaccination site at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics.
“Yup, they’re not going to run at all next week,” Prado says. “And then the fairgrounds, it’s going to be closed down for normal vaccines.”
Prado says the county did receive close to 40,000 doses earlier this week. However, many went out already, and the rest have been set aside for high-priority groups including long-term care facilities.
“Once I start thinking about my second dose appointments and my events, all those commitments, I’ve got zero extra that I have for anything,” Prado says.
County-run clinics around the Valley appear to be running into similar supply problems, and as of Friday, all appointments are full at Fresno, Madera, Merced, Kings and Tulare Counties. On Thursday, health officials in Tulare County even asked people to stop calling 2-1-1 after their operators became overwhelmed by the demand.
Multi-county and federal healthcare systems like Kaiser, Adventist and the Veterans Administration receive their own vaccines separately from county governments and may have more availability.
In total, county governments in the San Joaquin Valley had administered more than 52,000 vaccine doses as of January 17.