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Riverside County Hits Vaccine Milestone While Preparing for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine


Riverside County health officials announced a milestone of giving over 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses. This comes as the county prepares to receive its first shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccine as early as next week. 

“We are looking at areas of the county where logistically it would make sense to utilize that vaccine because it is a single dose," said Public Health Director Dr. Kim Saruwatari at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting. "We’re expecting guidelines out from the state of California in the next few days and then we will take those and incorporate those into our local planning efforts.”

The county is also planning a series of changes this week to provide more vaccination opportunities. 

  • Three sites will be opened Wednesday and operated by OptumServe in Norco (1377 Hamner Ave.), Temecula (39716 Winchester Road) and Desert Hot Springs (11711 West Drive).
  • The vaccine site at the Lake Elsinore Stadium, which previously operated two days a week, will be expanded to hours Thursday through Monday. The site will be operated by Curative.
  • The Indio Fairgrounds vaccine site will convert from a county to Curative run location.
  • The Corona High School vaccine site will close Friday, March 5. The staff from the location will be assigned to a new vaccine clinic in Moreno Valley. The location of the Moreno Valley clinic will be announced soon. Those who received their first dose at Corona High School will be notified when and where to receive their second dose.
  • The Perris Fairgrounds site, which provided vaccine two days a week, will be converted to a COVID-19 testing site and be opened seven days a week. This change will take effect Tuesday, March 2.

The three OptumServe sites will be run by state staff which will will free-up county staff to join mobile vaccination teams, bumping up the new total to five vans next week. The mobile teams will continue to serve residents age 65 and older and underprivileged communities that have trouble accessing fixed sites. This is all part of the county’s goal of reaching herd immunity through vaccination.
Dr. Geoffrey Leung of Riverside University Health System told county supervisors that after the second vaccine dose the risk of getting sick and infecting others is drastically reduced, but “Even after we are vaccinated there is a small but real risk that we can continue to transmit infection. Which is why we want to continue with all the precautions until the vast majority is vaccinated,” said Leung.

Leung, estimates that a majority of the county population will be vaccinated by late summer.