Riverside County expects to begin the next phase of its coronavirus vaccination plan – which will include people over the age of 74, teachers and law enforcement – “as soon as next week,” Riverside County Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said Tuesday, Jan. 12.
So far, at least 28,708 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Riverside County, Saruwatari told the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Under the state’s distribution plan used by the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, the next phase – Phase 1b – begins with a level that includes people aged 75 and over, and key frontline workers in education, law enforcement, grocery stores, farms and emergency services.
Next in line ̵
San Bernardino County is beginning to vaccinate people in stage 3 of Phase 1A, which includes specialty clinics and dental clinics, before they reach phase 1B, spokesman David Wert said Tuesday.
The county has received 75,900 initial doses received and administered 38,770 administered, and is on track to vaccinate another 26,940 people by the end of this week, Wert said. It has received a further 43,625 doses for the second dose.
“Moving on depends on incoming supplies, which are unpredictable,” Wert said.
Riverside County’s numbers are likely to be several thousand higher than what can be reported because health care providers have 72 hours to register that they have vaccinated someone, Saruwatari said.
So far, the limiting factor in vaccinating more people has been the availability of the vaccine, she said. The county receives Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from the state based on its population and has received enough to vaccinate the same portion of its residents as other counties in California, she said.
“Once we have enough vaccine in hand to cover those in Phase 1a, we move to Phase 1b, even though not everyone in Phase 1a has been vaccinated,” Saruwatari said. “They are still eligible to be vaccinated.”
The county has had a problem with people showing up for vaccination appointments when they are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine, she said. These people must then be sent away without a shot, she said.
“It leads to frustration from them, but also frustration from people who can not get the deal they should be able to,” Saruwatari said. “… We are just asking the public to register when they are actually qualified according to the phase distributions on the website.”
This breakdown can be found at https://www.ruhealth.org/covid-19-vaccine or https://sbcovid19.com/vaccine/.
However, time slots are not wasted if an unqualified person comes to an agreement, she said.
“We have a waiting list, so we vaccinate much more than we have places for at our vaccination clinics,” said Saruwatari.
During the same update, Bruce Barton, the county’s emergency manager, said an “unprecedented hospital increase” continued with county hospitals with 91% of their licensed capacity and six hospitals in the county at or above 100% of the licensed capacity.
Intensive care centers have 133% of capacity or 161% when looking only at the use of adult ICUs, he said.
“Going through the numbers just does not capture the current environment that our healthcare providers are going through,” he said. “It is absolutely remarkable that in the midst of this unprecedented wave, they continue to be determined to take care of our residents and visitors and find new ways to expand capacity and sometimes make decisions that none of us as medical providers or people in “taking care of people’s business thought we should do.”