COVID-19 Vaccine

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Both Riverside and San Bernardino County announced Tuesday April 13 that they are following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration(FDA) recommendation to pause the use of the Johnson & Jonson vaccine. This follows the report of six patients developing a rare and serious type of blood clot after the one dose shot.

Lisa Ferdinando/OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

San Bernardino made the move to open up COVID-19 vaccinations immediately to people age 16 and older who live and work in the county Tuesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports on this and other recovery news.

Nine days before the state guidance to do so, Board of Supervisors Chair Curt Hagman said it is time to fully expand vaccine eligibility. The county is currently receiving 60,000 doses of vaccine per week and is expecting that number to continue to increase weekly by 10,000.

Submitted/County of Riverside

Riverside County partners gave the one millionth COVID-19 vaccination dose at a clinic in Beaumont Wednesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports.

The milestone dose was given to 65-year-old retired nurse Shirley Ann Gruenke of Cherry Valley.

“It was a surprise, but I sure thank you all,” said Gruenke, in a news release. “You know, I went back and forth saying I was not going to get the shot, but when I got COVID in December and I felt sick, I said I’m ready for it. I’m getting my shot.”

City of Redlands

The city of Redlands is partnering with local groups and faith organizations to host a vaccine clinic at Citrus Valley High School on March 30. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on the clinic that aims to reach the underserved community. 

For people without transportation who live in the North Redlands area, a bus may be available to bring them to the clinic. Residents should ask about this service when they register for the vaccine according to a city news release.

Riverside County health officials say improvements in vaccine shipments means supply is now outpacing demand. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports on the latest from Tuesday's Riverside County board of supervisors meeting.

Dr. Geoffrey Leung, of the Riverside University Health System, told county supervisors this is partly because federal shipments are now going directly to community health centers and retail pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Walmart.

Facebook

Californians who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine have a new way to find out where they can get their shots. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on a new tool from Facebook.

Available in 71 languages, the vaccine finder tool, built in partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital, helps people find vaccination sites close to where they live.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has arrived in the Inland Empire, which means the new vaccine will be available at both Riverside and San Bernardino County vaccination sites later this week.

Riverside University Health System’s Dr. Geoffrey Leung told his board of supervisors this influx of new vaccine supply means all appointments for county run vaccination sites are now open to both first and second dose appointments. Up until now most sites in Riverside County were limited to first dose appointments.

San Bernardino County could advance into the red tier of the state's re-opening blueprint as soon as March 22. Director of Public Health Corwin Porter said, that while the county is rapidly approaching a total of 300,00 coronavirus cases, infection rates are slowing.

“Some of the key things that will change is that retail will be expanded, we will see restaurants being able to allow indoor dining [and] we’ll see gyms for the first time, in seems like foreve, have some capacity to open inside with modifications," said Porter.

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. 

Riverside County residents who received their first COVID-19 vaccine at county run sites have a new way to check on the status of their invitation for their second dose appointment. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more from the county’s weekly public health update.

Residents can now go online to check on the status of second dose invitation at rivcoph.org/COVID-19-2nd-Dose-Information.

San Bernardino County

The rollout of San Bernardino County’s new mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics this week, means seniors in rural and mountain communities have more direct access to the vaccine. 

Over the next several weeks, two county vans will exclusively serve seniors age 65 and older at several locations across the far-flung region.

These communities include San Bernardino, Chino Hills, Colton, Lucerne Valley, Twentynine Palms, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, Hesperia, Montclair, Trona, Needles, and others. The vans held clinics this week in Crestline, Lytle Creek and Lake Arrowhead.

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Riverside County announced Tuesday that COVID-19 case rates met the state’s threshold to allow for schools to restart in-person kindergarten through sixth grade education. Meanwhile in San Bernardino County, teachers can now sign up to receive the vaccine at county run sites.

In order to reopen, schools in Riverside County must have pre-approved plans. According to a release, currently four districts have approval including Corona-Norco, Palo Verde Valley, Desert Sands, and Murrieta Valley.

Family Service Administration/Submitted

The Family Service Association (F.S.A.), a Moreno Valley non-profit, received a $120,000 grant to address COVID-19 disparities in San Bernardino County from the Oakland-based Public Health Institute.

They will use the money to roll out an outreach plan in early March to target vulnerable groups like seniors, essential workers, people living in poverty, communities of color and immigrants around behavioral changes to prevent disease spread and encourage vaccine adoption.

sbcovid19.com

Over 11 percent of San Bernardino County residents have now been vaccinated. That’s according to a new portal launched by the county last week.  KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on what the first round of data looks like.

Of those vaccinated, over seven percent have received one dose and three percent are fully vaccinated with two doses. Patients age 75 to 79 have the highest vaccination rate followed by patients 80 and older.

A tight vaccine supply means both Riverside and San Bernardino County will continue to prioritize residents age 65 and older in their vaccine push. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on this and securing second dose appointments.

Riverside County opened up its public health vaccine clinics to people age 65 and older Monday, but University Health System Chief of Family Medicine Dr. Geoffry Leung warned that supply continues to be limited. Riverside County vaccine appointment information can be found here.

San Bernardino County/YOUTUBE

San Bernardino County Superbowl fans can catch Minnesota Vikings running back and San Bernardino High School graduate Alexander Mattison in an ad on ESPN Desportes during the Superbowl on February 7.

  

Mattison, speaking Spanish in the ad, serves as a county spokesperson encouraging residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

He appears in purple Vikings attire standing on San Bernardino High’s football field, where as a student he was a football, wrestling and track star.

County of Riverside/TWITTER

Both Riverside and San Bernardino County officials say they each have around 800,000 people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Weekly, the number of vaccine doses shipped vary, making it hard for county officials to plan ahead. This means with vaccine demand far outpacing supply, appointments continue to be hard to find. As new slots are released online, they are getting snatched up notoriously fast like the 3,500 appointments for the Fontana Speedway “super” site that filled up in less than 20 minutes on January 31.

San Bernardino County set up a new portal online for both medical and non-medical volunteers to sign up and help at county-run COVID-19 vaccination sites. 

Volunteers are needed to fulfill the county’s plans to operate a vast number of vaccination sites throughout the state’s largest geographic county, said San Bernardino County Board of Supervisor’s Chair Curt Hagman.

“So that volunteer portal will allow people who want to get involved to help get this vaccination out, which allows us to be a force-multiplier,” said Hagman.

Riverside University Health System

Riverside County announced Wednesday that it be closing the Beaumont vaccine clinic at San Gorgonio Middle School on Friday, January 29 due to severe weather predicted for the Inland region. 

In a press release, the county said residents with Friday appointments at the Beaumont clinic will receive a confirmation email to reschedule their vaccine for Monday, February 1 at the same appointment time.

All other vaccine clinics operated by the Riverside County Public Health Department will remain open, but the weather situation will continue to be monitored.

Lisa Ferdinando/OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

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.

Riverside County is opening up COVID-19 vaccine appointments at noon Thursday for six upcoming vaccination clinics. 

The Riverside County sites will administer 3,900 does free of charge over the weekend. Appointments are required and available to residents in all tiers of Phase 1a, tier one of Phase 1b and people age 65 and older.

Locations include Lake Elsinore’s Diamond Stadium, the Perris Fairgrounds, and the Indio Fairgrounds.

Lisa Ferdinando/OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

Appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine at Riverside and San Bernardino County-run sites are now booked for most of January. As demands continue to outpace the extremely limited availability of doses, KVCR collected the latest information.


Who is eligible for the vaccine right now?

Both Riverside and San Bernardino County are following a tiered two-phase approach.

Riverside University Health System

Inland Empire counties are quickly learning that the state system being used to register people for the COVID-19 vaccine can cause challenges. 

Riverside County director of public health Kim Saruwatari told her board of supervisors on Tuesday that vaccine registrations on the county’s website are filling up so fast that some people who are eligible to get the vaccine during Phase 1a of the distribution can not get appointments.

Despite a slower than anticipated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, San Bernardino County is doing better than the state average for administering the immunization so far.

“To date, we have approximately vaccinated, about 45 percent of our allocation," said Arrowhead Regional Medical Center CEO Andrew Goldfrach. "In comparison, the state is seeing about 30 percent.”

Congregations for Prophetic Engagement/FACEBOOK

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the Inland Empire, two organizations, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement and Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches, hosted a virtual event on December 16. They brought the faith and science communities together to address fears and help the African American community make an informed decision about the vaccine.

Riverside University Health System

Standing in the hospital parking lot during a press conference, emergency room housekeeper Alexa Lara said when she first heard about the vaccine she was hesitant to take it. But after learning about how it works, she volunteered to be among the first to receive it.

“I am at a daily exposure and I do have concerns and worries every day when I go home that I might bring something home to my family," said Lara. 

San Bernardino County/TWITTER

Just six hours after over 15,600 Pfizer vaccine doses arrived in San Bernardino County, the very first shot was given to ICU nurse Sonya Harrell at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.

“For me, it means an end in sight to something we’ve been dealing with since March, so I’m really excited about it,” said Harrell.

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The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in San Bernardino County Wednesday and Riverside County Friday as ICU capacity continues to shrink and deaths are on the rise. That's according to the latest reports provided by county officials at Tuesday's Riverside and San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meetings.

National Institute of Health

The news of two promising COVID-19 vaccines, had both the Riverside and San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors discussing preliminary plans for distribution at their meetings Tuesday.

San Bernardino County Director of Public Health Corwin Porter says it is not yet clear how many doses the state is set to receive, but the latest vaccine news provides some mid-term hope.

“So that is good news for us because that is one way that we can help combat obviously the virus which has taken a major toll on our county,” said Porter.