COVID-19 · Local

Coronavirus vaccine arrives in California, Fresno Co. receives doses Tuesday

The Pfizer-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine arrived in California Sunday night at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on board a FedEx plane that shipped from Michigan. 

LAX announced the arrival in a Tweet. 

“The first batch of COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Los Angeles at LAX,” the tweet reads. “This is a major milestone for science, our country and our community. Thank you to all those who made this delivery possible, and are part of the incredible effort to distribute vaccines around the world.” 

California received about 83,000 doses in the initial shipment, 7,800 of which are being distributed to Fresno County on Tuesday. 

Fresno County is one of 145 sites across the nation that have been selected as part of the first distribution. On Tuesday, 425 other locations will receive a shipment of vaccine doses. 

The state previously announced that it will receive a total of 327,000 doses in this first wave of distribution. 

Following the state’s vaccine distribution plan, health care professionals will be the first people in Fresno County to receive the vaccine. 

Vaccinating the entire health care workforce could take a few months, county interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra said last week, and the general public will likely not receive the vaccine until several months into 2021. 

Monday, Fresno State chipped into the vaccine effort, loaning a low-tempurature freezer to Community Medical Centers for vaccine storage.

“We thank Fresno State for its generosity and all our community partners that have helped us meet the unique challenges of this pandemic,” Matt Joslin, Community Medical Centers vice president, said.

Tulare County will receive 3,000 doses of the vaccine this week, Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson Carrie Monteiro told KFSN. 

That initial distribution will see Kaweah Delta Hospital, Sierra View Medical Center and nursing homes receive about 1,000 doses each. 

With many future shipments of the Pfizer vaccine on the horizon, California is also awaiting Food and Drug Administration approval of the Moderna manufactured vaccine. 

The FDA Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to vote on whether or not the FDA should authorize the Moderna vaccine for distribution. 

Last week the state announced that it has ordered 672,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to be delivered once it has been approved. 

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.