Riverside County has received only a fraction of the COVID-19 vaccines needed to inoculate those who are currently eligible to receive the vaccination, officials said Saturday.
The county has so far received 114,000 doses of the vaccine, while it is estimated that upwards of 700,000 currently qualify to get a vaccine under the state’s plan, including about 343,000 people aged 65 or older, according to the county executive office.
“This is not a volunteer issue. This is not a venue issue. This is a vaccine issue,” said Supervisor Karen Spiegel. “We’ve had plans in place for mass distribution for some time. Plans and places are not the concern. We do not have enough vaccine available to meet the demand.”
Executive Office spokeswoman Brooke Federico said the county usually receives shipments of the doses weekly and that they are either distributed to providers or administered at a public health vaccine clinic within two to three days.
She said nearly 80% of those doses received so far have gone to state-approved providers, including hospitals, physicians, clinics and pharmacies to vaccinate workers and residents currently eligible, but the supply remains “extremely limited.”
Meanwhile, residents anxious to get the shots have swarmed phone lines and the county’s scheduling website. The county opened up roughly 11,000 appointment slots on Friday at four clinics next week in Corona, Menifee, Beaumont and Indio. All of them were filled in a matter of hours.
Clinic appointments to receive the vaccine are currently booked through next Friday, according to Federico.
“There are more than 175 state-approved vaccine providers in Riverside County. Residents should ask their doctor, urgent care or pharmacy if they are an approved provider and when they expect to have vaccine,” she said.
A full list of providers in Riverside County can be found at www.ruhealth.org/covid-19-vaccine.