On Friday, February 26, 2021, at approximately 11:30 a.m. PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom visited Fresno County to highlight the state's new initiatives to bolster vaccination in the Central Valley.
Previous to the press conference the Fresno Bee reported the following:
“In a letter sent to Newsom on Thursday, organizations as diverse as the California Farmworker Foundation, the Fresno County Farm Bureau, Cultiva La Salud, the Central Valley Community Foundation and the California Fresh Fruit Association and others described vaccines for farm workers as a matter of “moral imperative and economic urgency.”
Both Thursday’s letter, and an earlier Feb. 19 letter to the governor, noted inequities in the rollout of coronavirus vaccines to agricultural workers who are spread out in rural areas of the state and are often isolated by economic, cultural and language differences from much of the state’s population.”
To kick off today’s event, Vice President of the Fresno City Council Nelson Esparza provided introductory remarks. Assemblymembers Rudy Salas, Robert Rivas, Joaquin Arambula and Senators Melissa Hurtado, Anna Caballero were among those present at the press conference who provided remarks. Comedian George Lopez also spoke and highlighted California’s efforts to vaccinate farmworkers. He said farm workers are essential to the state – "If you work at putting food on the table, then you belong with your place at that table." Each speaker also offered complimentary comments regarding the Newsom Administration and the Governor’s actions to address the pandemic.
Additionally, it was noted that on Monday (2/22), Governor Gavin Newsom’s Administration said that the state would set aside 34,000 vaccine doses for California farmworkers and open 11 new vaccine sites in the Central Valley. Today, just 4 days later, the Governor is back in the Central Valley visiting one of those new sites using the doses which were promised.
After 35 minutes, the Governor took the podium. Consistent with other site visits, when Newsom spoke, he addressed the state's ongoing work to ramp up vaccination efforts. California has now administered over 8.2 million vaccines and the state is averaging about 1.4 million distributed doses per week. The Governor said that more doses are coming. More specifically, California's weekly vaccine dose allocation from the federal government will increase to about 1.6 million next week. Newsom also said an anticipated 380,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine are expected to come to the state next week pending approval. He noted that a single dose "provides opportunities to bring those doses and vaccines to where people are." Statewide, the Governor reported, that the test positivity rate has plummeted to 2.7 percent over the last 30 days. Hospitalizations rates are also down. “We are making progress, there is not just a light at the end of the tunnel, there is bright light,” he reiterated.
During the Q&A, Newsom was asked about the state’s third part administrator, Blue Shield. In response, he promised ‘more transparency’ and greater information on a larger scale next week. Newsom also stated beginning Monday, March 1st counties will be getting a three-week window on expected vaccine allocations.
Regarding a mass vaccination site in the Central Valley in conjunction with President Joe Biden’s Administration, Newsom said “other states weren’t as pleased as we were” that California received 2 other sites. This being the case, he suggested, the Central Valley site may be delayed a while.
On reopening schools and the discrepancies around in-person instruction, Newsom said negotiations with the Legislature are ongoing but they are in the ‘final stages.’ He renewed his impassioned plea to reopen public schools. A deal may be announced early next week, Newsom stated.
Finally, Newsom was asked whether single-dose vaccines will be prioritized for populations who could benefit from single dose. In response, he said it'll go through Blue Shield and we'll "figure out" where that fits in. He also stated that Californians should not be picky regarding which vaccine they get (Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J) – "Take the shot when it's your turn," he said.
The press conference concluded at approximately 12:18 p.m. PDT.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There is now a total of 3,460,326 (+0.1 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 50,991 (+2.2 percent) deaths in California. As of February 24th, there have been 47,814,160 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health. A total of 8,232,420 vaccines have been administered. **Deaths reported on February 25, 2021, include a backlog of 806 deaths from Los Angeles County that were not initially recorded as COVID-19 deaths. The majority of these deaths occurred between December 3, 2020, and February 3, 2021. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.
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