Following the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 for children ages 5-11, Fresno County has seen a slight increase in vaccination rates across the county.
While Fresno County health officials warn that it will be a tough winter ahead, vaccination rates in Fresno County have gone up slightly and are beginning to align closer to the state average, says the county’s health department manager, Joe Prado.
“There’s still a lot of first doses and second doses being administered out there, and we’re seeing some really good momentum picking up here right before the holidays,” said Prado.
5% of Children Ages 5-11 In Fresno County Have Received First Dose
A total of almost 6,000 Pfizer doses have been administered to children ages 5-11 in Fresno County since approval was granted two weeks ago, making up 5% who have received at least one dose.
In context, data released by the White House shows 10% of children in the 5-11 age group nationwide have received at least one dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine since its approval.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced Wednesday that almost 2.6 million kids have received at least one shot.
“With 1.7 million doses administered in the last week alone, roughly double the pace of the first week after approval. It’s more than three times faster than the rate adults were vaccinated at the start of the nation’s vaccination campaign 11 months ago,” said Zients.
Before emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration, thousands of pediatricians pre-ordered Pfizer doses, including in Fresno County.
Pfizer began shipments soon after their decision to authorize the vaccines to this age group and a report by the Associated Press stated that Pfizer expected to send out 19,000 shipments totaling 11 million doses in the next few days with millions more that would continue to be available to order on a weekly basis.
Vaccine Interest Could Start To Wane
Prado says there has been good growth in getting the 5-11 age group vaccinated and thinks vaccination rates will go up a bit more in this age group before they begin to plateau.
“Communicating with our community based organizations, there are families that are definitely excited about getting vaccinated and just needed some assistance in going on MyTurn or getting them close to a mobile clinic,” said Prado. “But there is concerns from parents waiting a little longer before they have their child vaccinated and waiting to see what happens.”
While interest remains strong in some families, Prado said vaccine hesitancy will remain strong in others and can result in a bit of a waiting game.
“As we see what happens in the Legislature with any type of school, any additional school mandates and without any exemptions with COVID vaccines, I think that will also assist with the 5-11 group being vaccinated,” said Prado.
Fresno County Vaccination Rates Among Other Age Groups
Among children and youth ages 12-17, 55% of them have received at least one dose in Fresno County and 20% of adults have received a booster.
Accounting for total vaccinations across the county, 63% have received one dose bringing up the total vaccination rate in Fresno County up from 52.1% just a few weeks ago.
“Just to kind of take us back to what our goal was, we were hoping to hit 70 % of our eligible population by the holidays,” said Prado. “So we’ll see if we can increase to that number.”
Vaccine Locations Across The County
According to Prado, there are close to 45 locations in Fresno County that provide pediatric doses, not accounting for local for pharmacies that also provide those doses.
The county also has more than 20 mobile clinics scheduled at sites around the county during November and December, said Prado.
“I really want to thank our our medical providers that are running these mobile clinics because they are not only just providing pediatric doses, they’re also usually providing at least one other vaccine as well,” said Prado.
Vaccinations are still available at the UCSF site across from the Fashion Far Mall, next to Bank of America, and is open seven days a week. Another vaccination site in Mendota is open every Saturday.