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COVID-19 Vaccine Will Arrive in Fresno Next Month, Says Councilwoman

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Fresno County will receive a supply of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, says Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria.

She said city officials are in regular contact with Fresno County’s health officer, Dr. Rais Vohra, on the timing.

“He just spoke to us and confirmed that we would be getting early vaccinations before the end of the year,” said Soria. “What we’re trying to do is just be prepared so that we have a deployment plan.”

This news comes on the heels of announcements from drug makers Pfizer and Moderna that human trials have shown their vaccines to be 95% effective. Pfizer said on Wednesday that it would be seeking emergency approval as early as this week to distribute their vaccine.

U.S. officials expect only enough supply from Pfizer and Moderna to vaccinate about 20 million people through the end of the year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will determine who is first in line for a vaccine in the U.S. Officials have previously said health workers, first responders and vulnerable populations would likely be inoculated first.

“He (Dr. Rais Vohra) just spoke to us and confirmed that we would be getting early vaccinations before the end of the year.”Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria

Limited Number of Vaccine Doses

Soria says local leaders are not expecting a large batch in December, so people should remain patient.

“Obviously, they’re (COVID-19 vaccines) going to be limited. They’re going to be utilized for the most vulnerable,” said Soria. “I imagine probably the frontline workers (also) so that we, again, can control the the pandemic here in our community.”

An expert panel advising the CDC is also considering giving high priority to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older.

State officials are expected to follow CDC guidance as they distribute their vaccine supplies.

Pfizer vaccine being prepared at their Kalamazoo, Michigan plant. (Courtesy/Pfizer)

COVID-19 Testing Goals

Soria says it’s also important to increase the amount of testing being done in the city. She noted the state penalized Fresno County for not reaching testing goals in the most recent COVID-19 report.

On Monday, data showed Fresno County had 13.9 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100k population. But, because the amount of testing being done is below the state’s goals, Fresno County’s rate was increased to 14.7 and listed as the ‘adjusted case rate for tier assignment.’

The last thing we want is us to even go further back,” said Soria. “The goal is to make sure that these numbers get lower, that we do increased testing, and that’s going to help us because we have been behind.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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