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Vaccine Shortfall Prompts Karbassi Letter to Biden: “We Are in Dire Need”



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Fresno County has the ability to vaccinate 40,000 people a week, Councilman Mike Karbassi says, but local health officials received just 8,000 doses from the state a few days ago.

“If the state isn’t going to show us some love, maybe the president will,” said Karbassi to GV Wire℠ by Zoom. Karbassi drafted and sent a letter directly to President Joe Biden hoping to bring attention, and ultimately more vaccine, to the city and county.

Photo of Mike Karbassi

“If the state isn’t going to show us some love, maybe the president will.”Fresno City Council Member Mike Karbassi

“He needs to know that not only do we need more in Fresno County, we have the capability to administer more in Fresno County,” says Karbassi.

So far, Karbassi has not received a response to his letter. However, the Philadelphia Enquirer is now reporting federal allocations of coronavirus vaccines to states and other jurisdictions are expected to increase by about 16% next week.

Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House’s COVID-19 response, is expected to inform governors of the increase on a call Tuesday afternoon.

Karbassi says the vaccine allocation juggernaut may nullify any good that could come from Tuesday’s reported call with governors.

“That’s all well and good,” says Karbassi. “But if it gets to the state and the state won’t trickle down to Fresno County, then what’s the point?”

Karbassi’s Letter To President Biden

Karbassi’s two page letter to Biden lays out the case for why he thinks the lack of vaccine means Fresno County is getting what he calls, “the short end of the stick.”

Part of the letter says, “In Fresno, California’s 5th largest city, we are in dire need of help from the federal government to deliver more Covid-19 vaccines to our region. As of today, our county’s health department has suspended operation of our mass vaccination site because of a lack of vaccine supply. This site alone was providing 1,500 vaccinations a day, with a long waiting list of willing residents. This is incredibly disheartening.”

The letter goes on to say, “Without more vaccines, there is no hope for economic recovery in our economically sensitive region.”