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Riverside County Celebrates Expanding Vaccine Eligibility To Everyone 16 And Older

Benjamin Purper

Riverside County has expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older, and the Riverside University Health System celebrated this milestone with a vaccination event at their medical center in Moreno Valley today.

About 1,100 people are expected to come through the Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley today, Apr 6, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

There are balloons, photo booths, and signs that say “pandemic finish line.”

Heather Jackson, Senior Public Information Specialist with RUHS, says it's a day to celebrate.

Credit Benjamin Purper / KVCR

“So today’s exciting, it’s a historic day today, and as you can hear there are cheers in the background! We’re rooting people on, telling them that we’re so excited that they’re here with us today because it’s helping us get closer to pandemic finish line. That’s the campaign that we’re running right now, it starts today,” Jackson says.

“The visuals have been masks, right, the visuals have been six feet apart wherever you go. We’ve even seen morbid visuals of like the death tolls and the rates and the hospital capacities. So we’re trying to change the picture now, we want your visual to be the end is in sight, we want your visual to be the more people that get vaccinated the closer we’re going to get to that pandemic finish line at the end of this,” Jackson says.  

Dr. Bruce Weng is an infectious disease specialist with RUHS. He says opening up everyone 16 and older to the vaccine will help lower coronavirus infection rates even further in Riverside County.

“I think we already know how effective the vaccinations are especially in reducing severe and critically ill COVID disease. Those are the processes that usually stick you in the hospital. All three vaccines work just the same in regards to that aspect and if we’re able to get more people vaccinated to reduce that risk, this is only going to further lower the amount of hospitalizations for COVID,” Weng says.

RUHS estimates the change will open vaccine eligibility to hundreds of thousands of Riverside County residents. Those who are 16 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to get vaccinated.

More than one million vaccinations have been administered to Riverside County residents already.

To make an appointment in Riverside County, you can visit rivcoph.org/covid-19-vaccine.

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