Fresno County health officials planning to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to homeless

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County public health officials say vaccines are also on the way for the homeless.

Work is now underway to figure out a safe and efficient way to vaccinate those who live on the street and the people who provide services for them.

"They're in Phase 1B," said Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra.

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Fresno Mission CEO Matt Dildine says the non-profit continues to operate overcapacity, but has been forced to reduce some of the ways they deliver services during the pandemic.

The vaccine would provide a layer of safety for people who receive services here -- and the workers who assist them.

"We can't feed in the same way, we still feed but we don't have the congregate dining facilities in the same way. We can't house the same number of people in the same places," said Dildine.

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While places like the Fresno Mission wait to hear when the vaccine will be delivered -- county health officials say they're still working on details to get the shot distributed to the more than 2,000 people who live on the streets.

"We're working with a lot of community-based organizations as well as our homeless shelter operators, but we're going to need to do some creative thinking about how to reach all of the homeless folks that are not currently in a shelter right now," said Dr. Vohra.

The Fresno Mission has offered the County one of its 6,000 square foot structures as a place where the homeless and staff could go to get vaccinated.

"My guess is they will tell us the day when they're coming in and we will communicate that to our population or go out into the street and bring them in for that to happen," said Dildine.

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