Valley firefighters, nursing students could soon be trained to administer COVID-19 shot

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In an effort to get more COVID-19 doses out of the freezers and into patients, California Governor Gavin Newsom says it's all hands on deck.

State officials are expanding the list of people who can vaccinate, which will include dentists, pharmacists, and 15 National Guard strike teams.

Firefighters could be next.

Fresno City fire officials say there are ongoing discussions, but they would need additional training.

"Fresno fire is a BLS, which is 'basic life support'. We don't have paramedic certifications on our trucks. Our personnel would have to receive additional training... I don't think it'd be tough to train our personnel," says Shane Brown with Fresno City Fire.

Lorraine Smith, the dean of the Allied Health Programs at Fresno City College, says they're working with Fresno County Public Health to hopefully get several of their nursing students ready to assist.

"Before our students can give vaccinations, they have to be vaccinated, so we've been working with the county so they can be of help. They are ready and willing to help. Vaccination is one of the primary functions they learn early on in their career," says Smith.

In Tulare County, public health officials say they're trying to work quickly to vaccinate those who in turn can vaccinate others.

They're in the process of reaching out to their own nursing students and firefighters.

Tulare County health officials say along with calling on medical personnel, they're also hoping to get non-medical volunteers to help with logistics once the general public is eligible to get a dose.
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