COVID-19 · Fresno

Fresno Co. overcomes hiccup in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Despite a disruption in the COVID-19 vaccine delivery to Fresno County this week because of the extreme weather conditions across the country, county health officials are not anticipating any problems with vaccine administration. 

Fresno County was set to receive 18,000 doses of the vaccine this week, but 7,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine did not arrive. 

Joe Prado, a division manager with the Fresno County Department of Public Health, said Friday that the county expects to receive the 7,800 Moderna doses early next week in addition to the scheduled 21,000 doses that are allotted to the county next week. 

The county was not negatively impacted from the delay this past week because the public health department had enough doses in storage to supply the appointments. 

“We were fortunate we had some supplies we could give out to our local providers to keep the distribution system moving along here,” Prado said. 

Next week will be the third consecutive week in which Fresno County received about 20,000 doses. Although the state has still not provided a three-week dosage outlook – meaning the county cannot plan for the exact number of doses that it will receive in the upcoming weeks – Prado expects Fresno County to remain around 20,000 doses moving forward. 

Previously, Fresno County had received 8,000 doses most weeks since distribution started. 

Prado said one of the reasons why the county is receiving more vaccine supply is because of a new allocation formula that the state is utilizing. The new formula now takes into account the following groups: health care workers, people aged 65 and older, educators, child care workers and food and Ag workers. 

The county will open up 9,000 appointments next week at the mass vaccination site located at the fairgrounds. Prado said the focus at that site will be on the 65 and older population as well as health care workers. 

Blue Shield of California officially takes over California’s vaccine distribution plan on Sunday. Prado said Fresno County’s vaccine distribution will remain the same in the near future as Blue Shield has not yet revealed any new plans for the county. 

While the vaccine distribution continues to pick up in Fresno County, the impact of COVID-19 on the area’s hospitals is continuing to decline. 

There are currently 289 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, as well as an additional 18 who are suspected of having the virus. 

Of that total of 307 patients, 68 of them are being cared for in the county’s 150 ICU beds. 

Fresno County’s hospitals are in much better shape than they were at the start of the year, when there were about 700 hospitalized patients and the ICUs had no capacity remaining.

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.