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Mass vaccination efforts continue in Kings County
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Mass vaccination efforts continue in Kings County

HANFORD — The weekend marked another successful mass vaccination clinic at Sierra Pacific High School with 2,700 COVID-19 vaccines administered.

The public vaccination event was the eighth of its kind for Adventist Health and the second hosted by Sierra Pacific, after the first clinic vaccinated about 1,000 residents on Jan. 30. On Saturday, 1,200 second doses were administered to the aforementioned first group. 1,500 residents received their first dose of the vaccine on Sunday.

“For today, the new people, they’re happy,” Dr. Raul Ayala, ambulatory medical officer for Adventist Health, said. “They’ve just been waiting to get their vaccine and they’re happy today.”

Residents who received their first dose on Sunday included teachers, those 65 years and older, and agriculture workers.

“I thought it would be good to be vaccinated simply because I don’t know if I’ve been exposed, personally, to COVID in the past or not,” resident Brian Fraley said. “It’s probably a good health decision to make for me right now.”

Fraley noted the efficiency of the process and said he was vaccinated within three minutes of stepping into the Sierra Pacific gym.

Just two months ago, Ayala said there were few people who wanted the vaccine. Now, that figure has drastically multiplied and the strategy has shifted. For Ayala and company, it was a welcome sight to see so many eager residents want the vaccine.

“It went from 30% to 50% — now we’re up in the ranges of 60-70% that want the vaccine,” Ayala said. “That’s a big jump. Now, we’re having to work out how are we going to give to all those people who want and sign up or are calling about the vaccine.”

Even though Sierra Pacific hosted the first clinic just one month ago, the process has continuously become more streamlined and efficient allowing for more residents to get the vaccine.

“The teams themselves have evolved and made their processes better every week,” Ayala said. “We were doing 500 in an eight-hour day. Now we’re doing 500 in a three-hour day. This morning they were doing 200-250 per hour. We weren’t there when we started.”

All eight of Adventist Health’s vaccination events have been in conjunction with the health department of that county, school districts, nonprofits, medical, pharmacy and nursing schools, residency programs and more. Each clinic takes more than 150 volunteers from the planning stages to administering the vaccine.

“I think there’s a sense of community and I think they’re optimistic about wanting to do something to help the other,” Ayala said. “I think they’re really happy about helping somebody else.”

Adventist Health continues on planning to have more mass vaccination events as supply of the vaccine become available. Vaccines are also beginning to be given out at clinics and will soon include local pharmacies such as CVS.

“This was not here three months ago,” Ayala said. “We’re in a different place now. Now it’s just getting more vaccine.”

Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.

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