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Fresno is still in “hurry up and wait” mode when it comes to getting a long-rumored FEMA mass vaccination site.

“Other states were not as pleased as we all were about being the first and having not one, but two large scale sites.”Governor Gavin Newsom speaking about the prospects of California getting a mass vaccination site in Fresno

Governor Gavin Newsom, who toured a vaccination site for farmworkers at Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries with comedian and activist George Lopez, and other state and local officials, said the state is the envy of the nation.

“Full disclosure, the state of California is the beneficiary of the first two federal sites,” said Newsom. “Other states were not as pleased as we all were about being the first and having not one, but two large scale sites.”

Congressman Jim Costa, D-Fresno, told GV Wire℠ a few weeks ago he believes the Save Mart Center would be an ideal location due to its large parking lot.

GV Wire℠ asked Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra if his team is still expecting a FEMA site here.

“We still have our fingers crossed that we hear good news,” said Vohra. “But we haven’t really heard anything yet.”

Vohra understand the frustration other state’s may have in seeing California already roll out two of these big sites.

“We know that we may have to wait, but we’re still expecting that we’ll get one because we haven’t heard anything to the contrary,” said Vohra.

3 Million Vaccines a Day

California officals announced that it is on track to create the capacity to administer three million vaccinations per week by Monday. The figure includes both providers in the Statewide Vaccine Network and others that receive their vaccines directly from the federal government.

Following his tour of FIRM, Newsom highlighted recent achievements that are moving the state toward reaching its vaccination program goals.

“On Monday, we said we were going to set up 11 sites like this over the course of the week,” said Newsom.  “California has significantly stepped up its weekly administration of doses. In fact, the only constraint now is supply.”

California has increased vaccine allocations to the Central Valley by 58 percent, he said.

Fresno County is expecting 32,000 doses next week, with 11,000 of the doses allocated for education workers.

Single Statewide Vaccine Eligibility Standard

“We will be providing a lot of different types of reports over time.”Blue Shield CEO Paul Markovich on transparency efforts as his company takes over California’s vaccine program

On March 1:

  • All providers and local health jurisdictions will move to a uniform, state-directed eligibility criteria, eliminating confusion on who is eligible to receive a vaccine on a county by county basis.
  • Blue Shield of California will begin making allocation recommendations – based on criteria set by the state – to state officials for doses delivered the following week. The state will make final allocation decisions, continuing to use the existing split which prioritizes 70 percent of doses for those 65+ and the other 30 percent in the educational and childcare, emergency services and food and agriculture sectors. Included in that is the 10 percent set aside for educational and childcare workers. This allocation is for first doses only, with second doses being sent to the provider who administered the first vaccination dose.

Fresno County is in Phase 1 of Blue Shield’s rollout that begins on Monday.

Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich told GV Wire℠ he is committed to transparency through the transitional period that will provide a window into who is getting the vaccine, where it’s being delivered, and how much is being allotted for each county.

“We will be providing a lot of different types of reports over time,” said Markovich.

Markovich says it will take time to build up the data infrastructure necessary to paint a complete picture of what’s happening on the ground in all 58 counties. He says until the MyTurn vaccine appointment system provides all of the necessary data, it will take time.

Newsom, responded to a question from GV Wire℠ about how transparent Blue Shield’s data will be.

“The whole idea of getting everyone on a single platform is more transparency, more accountability and more ability to answer your question by not only looking at a dashboard, but understanding what those numbers mean, (and) what they don’t mean,” said Newsom.

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