The limited supply of vaccine nationwide could mean a much longer rollout for the Inland Empire than originally intended. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on the efforts to get the first and second doses to the public.
Riverside County Public Health Director Dr. Kim Saruwatari told the County Board of Supervisor's Tuesday that they receive around 30,000 vaccine doses a week from the state. At that rate, if only 70 percent of the 800,000 currently eligible for the vaccine opt in, it could take nearly nine months to serve those currently eligible.
“So vaccine supply [is] very limited," said Saruwatari. "We are hoping we will see a change to that, and the numbers will start to increase. It’s a matter of vaccine supply that slows us down.”
In San Bernardino County, supply also cannot meet demand, but they have so far been able to put 76 percent of doses received into arms. This is well above the state average of 40 percent, said Arrowhead Regional Medical Center COO Andrew Goldfrach at the Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting. Riverside County is also above the state average, giving 57 percent of doses received.
As residents continue to describe frustrating stories of trying and often failing to schedule their first dose online, anxieties around receiving the second dose are also growing.
Riverside and San Bernardino County say they will contact people by email or phone who received their first dose at a county-run vaccination site, to set up second dose appointments.
San Bernardino County will be opening a site January 28 at Arroyo Valley High School, which will be dedicated for the first several days to giving second doses. The county will also soon be changing their appointment system so that residents can sign up for both first and second dose appointments at the same time.
Riverside County is continuing its vaccianation of Phase 1a healthcare workers, people age 65 and older and Phase 1b workers including agriculture, emergency services. San Bernardino County is slowly starting its transition to serving Phase 1b tier 1 workers with the vaccination of police and fire personnel. They are also continuing to vaccinate Phase 1a healthcare workers and people age 65 and older.
To learn more about vaccinations and eligibility in Riverside County visit here: https://rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine.
To learn more about vacciations and eligibility in San Bernardino County visit here: https://sbcovid19.com/vaccine/.
Editor's note: An earlier version incorrectly said teachers were now eligible in San Bernardino County for the vaccine. Educator's will be eligible in Tier 1 of Phase 1b. While San Bernardino County has started to open up vaccinations to tier 1 of Phase 1b, as of January 27 they are only serving police and fire personnel.