Fresno, Valley get $100M for COVID health. Could have lasting effects, leaders say

Apr 2, 2021
In The News

Federal relief of $100 million is coming to Fresno, Madera and Merced health facilities to expand COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment, Rep. Jim Costa said on Friday.

The Fresno-area Democrat said health centers can use the funding to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations, as well as deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19.

They can also expand operational capacity during the pandemic and after it’s a thing of the past, including modifying and improving infrastructure and adding mobile units, the news release said.

The money comes out of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

“Community health centers have played a critical role in the response to this deadly disease,” Costa said. “From testing to vaccine distribution, this money will enable them to continue their work to put more shots in arms and help saves lives in our most vulnerable communities.”
More than 765,000 vaccines have been distributed to the San Joaquin Valley, but vaccination rates still remain lower than the California average.

Fresno County has touted its ability to distribute COVID vaccines equitably by sending mobile clinics into underserved communities that may have few English-speakers, according to Joe Prado, community health division manager for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Prado said in many ways the mobile clinics have better served the region than a mass vaccination site, which may be able to push out more vaccines per day but may be a hurdle too difficult to clear for the less privileged.

“Public health infrastructure has to grow outside of government walls, and this is a great demonstration of why,” he said. “I think there’s going to be ongoing conversations on building this infrastructure.”

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