California · COVID-19

Sources: Newsom headed to Fresno on Thursday to announce Save Mart Center vaccination site

Gov. Gavin Newsom is making his second San Joaquin Valley appearance since the on-set of the coronavirus nearly a year ago.

This time, he’s announcing the city’s largest arena – the Save Mart Center – will serve as the region’s mass vaccination site, multiple local and Sacramento sources told The Sun on Tuesday.

Newsom is expected to hold a press conference on the matter on Thursday.

His previous visit was a summer tour of the damage of the Creek Fire near Shaver Lake with now-Vice President Kamala Harris.

Newsom’s visit comes four days after announcing that the Central Valley, an oft-forgotten region in the pandemic response, would receive its own mass inoculation center.

Until a late January dip in vaccine supplies, San Joaquin Valley public health agencies were exceeding their larger counterparts in ability to distribute doses to frontline workers and senior citizens.

Despite a push from Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) for a Federal-state mass vaccination site in the area, the issue for local public heath officials and policymakers appears to be more fundamental: they need a greater supply of vaccine doses.

Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes echoed the sentiment about the current state of affairs with the state’s management of coronavirus vaccine distribution.

“This is a supply problem, not a logistical problem,” Mendes said. “Just give us the vaccine.”

Thus far, 284,316 doses of the vaccine have been given by San Joaquin Valley county public health officials, according to figures from the California Department of Public Health.

In sum, that accounts for 5.7 percent of all doses administered in the Golden State.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.