Representative Raul Ruiz isn't holding back on his criticisms of the way Riverside County is handling the distribution of coronavirus vaccines and the vaccination process.Ruiz expressed his frustrations with the process Friday he says has been too slow and unorganized.
"There seems to be discoordination," Ruiz said. "There doesn't seem to be a plan. It seems there's no communication. I'm frustrated just like the other residents who are calling me."
Ruiz says the county has not been responsive to his office when he calls seeking to share information. The lack of responsiveness follows a lack of pre-planning and coordination, Ruiz added.
"Public Health is practiced on the ground. It is local and the only public health department in the County of Riverside is the Riverside County Health Department," Ruiz said.
Cities, clinics, and nonprofits, all rely on the county for guidance and direction. Ruiz says he's produced public service announcements in English and Spanish trying to help keep people informed.
He wants the county to improve its public communications with more frequent and accurate updates from our leaders and public health experts on who, when, and where people can get vaccinated.
"They need to recruit a massive volunteer base," Ruiz said. "I have doctors calling me saying they have 100 doctors and nurses ready to go into the communities and trailer parks to vaccinate the public, but there seems to be a breakdown in that type of coordination."
A vaccination site in Beaumont opened this week and quickly filled up all its appointments. Another planned drive-up vaccination clinic in Indio booked up in just two hours.Ruiz says the county needs to work with local non-profits, such as Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine, who know the community best. It also needs to be more transparent with the vaccination supplies available-- all while continuing to work to ready people to accept vaccinations.
Ruiz admits demand for the vaccines is off the charts, which is making the issue more intense. He wants the federal government to do more, and harness the defense production act, to produce more vaccination supplies. But it's not just about distribution. It's about getting the shots in people's arms right here at home.
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates.