Fresno County health officials working on smoother ways to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A lack of space and staff, along with a spike in cases has hospitals in Fresno County shifting to crisis mode, but with the worst yet to come.

Hospital workers are struggling to keep up with the number of COVID-19 patients coming in for care, and are bracing for more cases from holiday gatherings.

Fresno County Public Health Interim Director, Dr. Rais Vohra, said they're scrambling to find ways to lessen the impact.

One way they're hoping to free up beds is by obtaining oxygen concentrators, which would allow hospital officials to send patients home.

RELATED: How close Valley hospitals could be to changing treatment of patients during pandemic

Governor Newsom announced a task force to provide more oxygen support throughout the state.

In the ongoing battle against the virus, health officials are hoping to utilize ways to ramp up vaccinations through closed point of dispensing sites.

"We developed a local data system so we can get as many people vaccinated as possible. We're going to get our first test of that this week. We're going to work with employers of different essential workers, and once they get a link they can choose a time when they're available," Fresno Co. Public Health Division Manager, Joe Prado, said.

Prado said if those who signed up don't make their time slot, that dose could go to someone else.

"We're developing a walk-up system, maybe people on a waiting list. Somebody that doesn't show up, we're calling them and they can come in within an hour or two notice," Prado said.

Vohra says they're still looking for more providers able to administer the vaccine and provide the refrigeration needed to local clinics to make the vaccine more easily accessible to the public in the future.

At this point, Prado said they're allocating the Pfizer vaccine for hospitals while the Moderna vaccine will be sent to providers and clinics.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.